Competition and Commitment: the Supply and Enforcement of Rights to Improve Roads and Rivers in England, 1600-1750
Prominent theories link political changes in seventeenth century England with greater security of property rights and less regulation. This paper informs these theories by studying the supply and enforcement of monopoly rights to improve roads and rivers between 1600 and 1750. The evidence shows that the King, Commons, and Lords all supplied improvement rights before the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Afterwards the Commons gained a monopoly over the initiation of rights and became increasingly effective. Lastly the evidence shows that Parliament and the King voided or diminished improvement rights, but such instances were less frequent and less arbitrary after 1688.
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