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On the emergence of parliamentary government: the role of private information

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  • Edward J. Green

Abstract

The way many dictators have been deposed in the 20th century resembles the way a parliamentary form of government emerged in 13th-century England. This medieval example is worth examining because the features that led to its political reform are particularly clear. Despite what many think, that reform cannot be understood simply as a shift in military power from ruler to subjects. Rather, understanding the reform requires understanding that the English king had recently acquired private information crucial to his subjects. Such private information became important after England lost Normandy to France, just before the king issued the Magna Carta (and publicly agreed to consult his subjects before taxing them). Under circumstances like these—when a threat to a society arises and significant private information about the threat develops—the society may need an arrangement for communication like parliament in order to attain economic efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward J. Green, 1993. "On the emergence of parliamentary government: the role of private information," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1993:i:win:p:2-16:n:v.17no.1
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Yijiang & Chang, Chun, 1998. "Economic transition under a semifederalist government: The experience of China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-23.
    2. Carlos Álvarez-Nogal & Christophe Chamley, 2014. "Debt policy under constraints: Philip II, the Cortes, and Genoese bankers," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(1), pages 192-213, February.
    3. John Hartwick, 2006. "The Control of Land Rent in the Fortified Farming Town," Working Papers 1096, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    4. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
    5. Álvarez Nogal, Carlos & Chamley, Christophe, 2011. "Debt policy under constraints between Philip II, the Cortes and Genoese bankers," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp11-06, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.

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    Keywords

    Great Britain ; Political science;

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