Merchant of Venice: The Nature and Determinants of Effective Transnational Constitutional Advice-Giving
A written constitution is a knowledge product. It may be drafted nationally or with advice from external actors. The need for external input in constitution-making is a function of the complexity of the requisite knowledge and access cost. The access cost will be higher if the required knowledge is in short supply or altogether lacking in the jurisdiction. In such a case, the state may get access to the knowledge necessary for drafting a successful constitution, at a lower cost, from transnational constitutional advisers. This project is a case study of one such adviser, the Venice Commission – a body that operates in a niche area of international relations by offering assistance to new states in constitution-making. The project examines the nature of the advisory power of the Commission as well as the quantum of material it produces to understand the determinants of its effectivity. The project focuses particularly on the reputational dynamic underpinning compliance with the Commission's advice, which is non-binding, explaining the advice-giving in terms of transaction cost theory, and understanding the audience the Commission caters to. With the proliferation of its amicus brief, the Commission not only influences the behaviour of amending actors and lawmakers but also judges.