Sunday, October 21, 2007

Constitutional Engineering 101

Last semester I designed a little “constitutional engineering” exercise for comparative politics. It’s probably better for a special topics course. Fortunately, I’m teaching just such a course this semester: Democracy & Democratization.

The simulation is rather simple. I designed a “Country Report” about a country (the Land of Oz). Students are then assigned into teams and asked to jointly write a 5-6 page policy brief recommending a constitutional design for a democratic Oz. After spending several weeks discussing issues of democratic theory, democratization, and constitutional design (presidentialism vs. parliamentarism, different kinds of electoral systems, issues of federalism, etc.) they should have enough from which to formulate a basic framework. The purpose is to test their ability to apply their readings to a “real” case (in this case, an imaginary one).

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