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Money and Modernization in Early Modern England

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  • Nuno Palma

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," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1903, Economics, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:man:sespap:1903
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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," Working Papers 0179, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    2. Yao Chen & Nuno Palma & Felix Ward, 2022. "Goldilocks: American precious metals and the Rise of the West," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 22-063/VI, Tinbergen Institute, revised 15 Feb 2023.
    3. 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.
    4. Adam Brzezinski & Roberto Bonfatti & K. KıvançKaraman & Nuno Palma, 2020. "Monetary Capacity," Economics Series Working Papers 926, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Palma, Nuno & Silva, Andre C., 2022. "Spending a Windfall," CEPR Discussion Papers 16523, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Patrick K. O'Brien & Nuno Palma, 2023. "Not an ordinary bank but a great engine of state: The Bank of England and the British economy, 1694–1844," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 76(1), pages 305-329, February.
    7. Svetlana Zenchenko & Wadim Strielkowski & Luboš Smutka & Tomáš Vacek & Yana Radyukova & Vladislav Sutyagin, 2022. "Monetization of the Economies as a Priority of the New Monetary Policy in the Face of Economic Sanctions," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 15(3), pages 1-18, March.
    8. Hanhui Guan & Nuno Palma & Meng Wu, 2022. "The Rise and Fall of Paper Money in Yuan China, 1260-1368," Economics Discussion Paper Series 2207, Economics, The University of Manchester, revised Jan 2024.
    9. Mauro Rota & Jacob Weisdorf, 2021. "Italy and the little divergence in wages and prices: evidence from stable employment in rural areas," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 74(2), pages 449-470, May.
    10. Carolyn Sissoko, 2022. "Becoming a central bank: The development of the Bank of England's private sector lending policies during the Restriction," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(2), pages 601-632, May.

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    More about this item

    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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