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Was the Glorious Revolution a Constitutional Watershed?

  • COX, GARY W.
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    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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    File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0022050712000307
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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

    Volume (Year): 72 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 03 (September)
    Pages: 567-600

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:72:y:2012:i:03:p:567-600_00
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    1. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Kohlscheen, Emanuel, 2005. "Sovereign Risk : Constitutions Rule," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 731, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Jha, Saumitra, 2008. "Shares, Coalition Formation and Political Development: Evidence from Seventeenth Century England," Research Papers 2005, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    5. Dan Bogart, 2009. "Did the Glorious Revolution Contribute to the Transport Revolution? Evidence from Investment in Roads and Rivers," Working Papers 080918, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    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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