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Purchase, Patronage, and Professions: Incentives and the Evolution of Public Office in Pre-Modern Britain

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  • Douglas W. Allen

Abstract

Prior to the 19th century virtually all European civil appointments were made through outright sale or patronage, and the offices were effectively private property. During the first half of the 19th century almost all of these offices converted to professional bureaucracies with salaried employees. This paper explains the choice over purchase and patronage prior to 1800, and the later transition to professions, using the NIE hypothesis that the crown was interesting in maximizing the value of its offices, and therefore, its own treasury. This hypothesis is tested by examining three branches of the British civil service: the military, judiciary, and treasury.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas W. Allen, 2005. "Purchase, Patronage, and Professions: Incentives and the Evolution of Public Office in Pre-Modern Britain," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(1), pages 1-57, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200503)161:1_57:ppapia_2.0.tx_2-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Allen, Douglas W, 1998. "Compatible Incentives and the Purchase of Military Commissions," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 45-66, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Noel D., Johnson & Mark, Koyama, 2012. "Standardizing the fiscal state: cabal tax farming as an Intermediate Institution in early-modern England and France," MPRA Paper 40403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Habib, Michel Antoine, 2015. "Multifaceted Transactions, Incentives, and Organizational Form," CEPR Discussion Papers 10432, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. 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.
    4. Allen, Douglas W., 2009. "A theory of the pre-modern British aristocracy," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 299-313, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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