How to amend a constitution? Model, axioms, and supermajority rules

Ben Abramowitz, Ehud Shapiro, Nimrod Talmon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

A self-governed society must have decision rules by which group decisions are made, and these rules are often codified in a written constitution. One of the defining features of a constitution is its degree of entrenchment, or how hard it is to change by amendment. If it is too easy to make amendments, then the constitution can change too frequently, leading to chaos. On the other hand, if it is too hard to make amendments, then this can also be destabilizing, as voters may begin to see the rules as less legitimate, or even seek to overturn the status quo in a revolt. As norms, priorities, and circumstances change over time and over generations a constitution must be able to adapt. Our work considers a stylized model of constitutions that use reality-aware supermajority rules to make decisions.We propose principles for designing amendment procedures for changing decision rules in these constitutions and propose a novel procedure based on these principles.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2021
PublisherInternational Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS)
Pages1431-1433
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781713832621
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Event20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 3 May 20217 May 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS
Volume3
ISSN (Print)1548-8403
ISSN (Electronic)1558-2914

Conference

Conference20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period3/05/217/05/21

Keywords

  • Constitutions
  • Online Communities
  • Reality-Aware Social Choice
  • Revolution
  • Supermajority Rules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering

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