Get access

Constitutional Culture in Japan and the Philippines: Success and Failure in Post-War Constitutional Choice



A country's constitutional order will have a strong impact on political stability and economic performance. In order for a formal constitution to stick, it must match the underlying constitutional culture. If the two are slightly mismatched, compromise will follow, in the form of constitutional change. If the two are radically mismatched, the informal (culture) will reject the formal (parchment), and with it, constitutionalism itself. This paper uses the case of post-war constitutional choice in Japan and the Philippines to illustrate the theory. Both countries adopted similar, US-influenced constitutions, under Allied military occupation. The Japanese constitution matched the underlying constitutional culture and stuck, leading to stability and growth. The Filipino constitution, on the other hand, did not match the underlying culture, and was rejected, leading to dictatorship and economic stagnation.