War, Moral Hazard, and Ministerial Responsibility: England After the Glorious Revolution
I reexamine Douglass North and Barry Weingast's argument regarding credible commitment and sovereign debt in post-revolution England. The central problem that the architects of the revolution settlement had to solve, I argue, was not the king's frequent reneging on financial commitments (a symptom), but the moral hazard that generated the kings' malfeasance (the underlying cause). The central element of the revolution settlement was thus not better holding kings to their commitments, but better holding royal advisors to account for all consequences of the Crown's policies—through what we now call ministerial responsibility.
Volume (Year): 71 (2011)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
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