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Money and modernization in early modern England

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  • Nuno Palma

    (University of Manchester and CEPR)

Abstract

Classic accounts of the English industrial revolution present a long period of stagnation followed by a fast take-off. However, recent findings of slow but steady per capita economic growth suggest that this is a historically inaccurate portrait of early modern England. This growth pattern was in part driven by specialization and structural change accompanied by an increase in market participation at both the intensive and extensive levels. These, I argue, were supported by the gradual increase in money supply made possible by the importation of precious metals from America. They allowed for a substantial increase in the monetization and liquidity levels of the economy, hence decreasing transaction costs, increasing market thickness, changing the relative incentive for participating in the market, and allowing agglomeration economies to arise. By making trade with Asia possible, precious metals also induced demand for new desirable goods, which in turn encouraged market participation. Finally, the increased monetization and market participation made tax collection easier. This helped the government to build up fiscal capacity and as a consequence to provide for public goods. The structural change and increased market participation that ensued paved the way to modernization.

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  • Nuno Palma, 2019. "Money and modernization in early modern England," Working Papers 0147, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0147
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    File URL: http://www.ehes.org/EHES_147.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Leticia Arroyo Abad & Nuno Palma, 2020. "The fruits of El Dorado: the global impact of American precious metals," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 2003, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    2. Adam Brzezinski & Roberto Bonfatti & K. KıvançKaraman & Nuno Palma, 2020. "Monetary Capacity," Economics Series Working Papers 926, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. O'Brien, Patrick Karl & Palma, Nuno, 2020. "Not an ordinary bank but a great engine of state: The Bank of England and the British economy, 1694-1844," eabh Papers 20-03, The European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH).
    4. Patrick K. O’Brien & Nuno Palma, 2019. "Danger To The Old Lady Of Threadneedle Street? The Bank Restriction Act And The Regime Shift To Paper Money, 1797-18211," Working Papers 0082, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Origins and persistence of modern economic growth; the industrious; industrial and financial revolutions; early modern monetary injections; the great divergence; the little divergence; state-formation; provision of public goods;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • E50 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - General
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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