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War, Moral Hazard, and Ministerial Responsibility: England After the Glorious Revolution


  • Cox, Gary W


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.

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  • Cox, Gary W, 2011. "War, Moral Hazard, and Ministerial Responsibility: England After the Glorious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(01), pages 133-161, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:71:y:2011:i:01:p:133-161_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Murray, John E. & Nilsson, Lars, 2007. "Accident risk compensation in late imperial Austria: Wage differentials and social insurance," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 568-587, October.
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    3. Gerhard Bry, 1960. "Wages in Germany, 1871-1945," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bry_60-1, January.
    4. Dhaval Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2009. "Health insurance and ex ante moral hazard: evidence from Medicare," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 367-390, December.
    5. Gerhard Bry, 1960. "Introduction to "Wages in Germany, 1871-1945"," NBER Chapters,in: Wages in Germany, 1871-1945, pages 1-13 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bentley B. Gilbert, 1965. "The Decay of Nineteenth-Century Provident Institutions and the Coming of Old Age Pensions in Great Britain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 17(3), pages 551-563, April.
    7. Gottlieb, Daniel, 2007. "Asymmetric information in late 19th century cooperative insurance societies," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 270-292, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dan Bogart, 2014. "Political Party Representation and Electoral Politics in England and Wales, 1690-1747," Working Papers 141510, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    2. Mauricio Drelichman & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2015. "Risk sharing with the monarch: contingent debt and excusable defaults in the age of Philip II, 1556–1598," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 9(1), pages 49-75, January.
    3. Madarász, Aladár, 2012. "Adósság, pénz és szabadság
      [Taxation, money and freedom]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(5), pages 457-507.
    4. Mark Dincecco & Mauricio Prado, 2012. "Warfare, fiscal capacity, and performance," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 171-203, September.
    5. Michael Tomz & Mark L.J. Wright, 2013. "Empirical Research on Sovereign Debt and Default," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 247-272, May.
    6. Mark Dincecco & James Fenske & Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato, 2014. "Is Africa Different? Historical Conflict and State Development," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-35, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    7. Seghezza, Elena, 2015. "Fiscal capacity and the risk of sovereign debt after the Glorious Revolution: A reinterpretation of the North–Weingast hypothesis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 71-81.
    8. Johnson, Noel D. & Koyama, Mark, 2014. "Tax farming and the origins of state capacity in England and France," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 1-20.
    9. Dan Bogart, 2016. "The East Indian Monopoly and the Transition from Limited Access in England, 1600–1813," NBER Chapters,in: Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, pages 23-49 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Dincecco, Mark & Katz, Gabriel, 2012. "State Capacity and Long-Run Performance," MPRA Paper 38299, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Stasavage, David, 2016. "What we can learn from the early history of sovereign debt," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-16.

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