Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Partisan politics and public debt: The importance of the for Britain's financial revolution


Author Info

Registered author(s):


    It has become common for authors to argue that government commitment to repay debt depends upon institutions. In this article I present new econometric evidence which shows that in one prominent case, Great Britain after 1688, credibility depended more immediately upon partisan preferences. The revolution in British public finance may indeed have been spurred forward by the constitutional changes of the Glorious Revolution, but it was only consolidated in 1715, almost three decades later, during a Whig Supremacy where a single party established unchecked control over British political institutions. It mattered a great deal for the final outcome that the Whig party was intimately associated with government creditors while their opponents, the Tories, were not. I provide evidence of a structural break in both government costs of borrowing and Bank of England share prices that is consistent with this argument. Using an ARCH-in-mean model, I then show that the evolution of the Whig majority in the House of Commons provides a better explanation for the evolution of government credibility than does either the assumption of a simple structural break in 1715, or an explanation focusing strictly on political stability, and ignoring partisan preferences. These findings have broad implications for our understanding of the determinants of credibility.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal European Review of Economic History.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 01 (April)
    Pages: 123-153

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:11:y:2007:i:01:p:123-153_00

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: The Edinburgh Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 2RU UK
    Fax: +44 (0)1223 325150
    Web page:

    Related research



    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.



    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:11:y:2007:i:01:p:123-153_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.