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Was the Glorious Revolution a Constitutional Watershed?

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  • COX, GARY W.

Abstract

Douglass North and Barry Weingast's seminal account of the Glorious Revolution argued that specific constitutional reforms enhanced the credibility of the English Crown, leading to much stronger public finances. Critics have argued that the most important reforms occurred incrementally before the Revolution; and that neither interest rates on sovereign debt nor enforcement of property rights improved sharply after the Revolution. In this article, I identify a different set of constitutional reforms, explain why precedents for these reforms did not lessen their revolutionary impact, and show that the evidence, properly evaluated, supports a view of the Revolution as a watershed.

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  • Cox, Gary W., 2012. "Was the Glorious Revolution a Constitutional Watershed?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(03), pages 567-600, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:72:y:2012:i:03:p:567-600_00
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    1. Emanuel Kohlscheen, 2010. "Sovereign risk: constitutions rule," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(1), pages 62-85, January.
    2. Dan Bogart, 2011. "Did the Glorious Revolution contribute to the transport revolution? Evidence from investment in roads and rivers," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(4), pages 1073-1112, November.
    3. Sussman, Nathan & Yafeh, Yishay, 2006. "Institutional Reforms, Financial Development and Sovereign Debt: Britain 1690 1790," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(04), pages 906-935, December.
    4. Dan Bogart & Gary Richardson, 2008. "Estate Acts, 1600 to 1830: A New Source for British History," NBER Working Papers 14393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    6. Jha, Saumitra, 2008. "Shares, Coalition Formation and Political Development: Evidence from Seventeenth Century England," Research Papers 2005, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    7. Quinn, Stephen, 2001. "The Glorious Revolution'S Effect On English Private Finance: A Microhistory, 1680 1705," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(03), pages 593-615, September.
    8. Dincecco, Mark, 2009. "Fiscal Centralization, Limited Government, and Public Revenues in Europe, 1650–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(01), pages 48-103, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci & Oscar Gelderblom & Joost Jonker & Enrico C. Perotti, 2017. "The Emergence of the Corporate Form," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 193-236.
    2. Pranab Bardhan, 2016. "State and Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 862-892, September.
    3. 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.
    4. David Le Bris & William N. Goetzmann & Sébastien Pouget, 2015. "The Development of Corporate Governance in Toulouse: 1372-1946," NBER Working Papers 21335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Timur Kuran & Jared Rubin, 2014. "The Financial Power of the Powerless: Socio-Economic Status and Interest Rates under Partial Rule of Law," Working Papers 14-22, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    6. Pranab Bardhan, 2015. "State and Economic Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature," Working Papers id:7060, eSocialSciences.

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