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Institutional Adaptability and Economic Development: The Property Rights Revolution in Britain, 1700 to 1830

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  • Gary Richardson
  • Dan Bogart

Abstract

Adaptable property-rights institutions, we argue, foster economic development. The British example illustrates this point. Around 1700, Parliament established a forum where rights to land and resources could be reorganized. This venue enabled landholders and communities to take advantage of economic opportunities that could not be accommodated by the inflexible rights regime inherited from the past. In this essay, historical evidence, archival data, and statistical analysis demonstrate that Parliament increased the number of acts reorganizing property rights in response to increases in the public's demand for such acts. This evidence corroborates a cornerstone of our hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Richardson & Dan Bogart, 2008. "Institutional Adaptability and Economic Development: The Property Rights Revolution in Britain, 1700 to 1830," NBER Working Papers 13757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13757
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joel Mokyr, 2005. "The Great Synergy: The European Enlightenment as a Factor in Modern Economic Growth," 2005 Meeting Papers 179, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benito Arruñada, 2017. "How to Make Land Titling more Rational," Working Papers 983, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Gary D. Libecap & Dean Lueck & Trevor O'Grady, 2011. "Large-Scale Institutional Changes: Land Demarcation in the British Empire," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(S4), pages 295-327.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2011. "Explaining the first Industrial Revolution: two views," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 153-168, April.
    4. Cai,Yongyang & Selod,Harris & Steinbuks,Jevgenijs, 2015. "Urbanization and property rights," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7486, The World Bank.
    5. David Mayer-Foulkes, 2008. "Economic Challenges for Global Governance," Working papers DTE 428, CIDE, División de Economía.
    6. Gary D. Libecap & Dean Lueck & Trevor O'Grady, 2010. "Large Scale Institutional Changes: Land Demarcation Within the British Empire," NBER Working Papers 15820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Alston, Lee J. & Gallo, Andrés A., 2010. "Electoral fraud, the rise of Peron and demise of checks and balances in Argentina," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 179-197, April.
    8. Shen, Xiaoxiao & Tsai, Kellee S., 2016. "Institutional Adaptability in China: Local Developmental Models Under Changing Economic Conditions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 107-127.
    9. Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Size and dynastic decline: The principal-agent problem in late imperial China, 1700–1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 107-127.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • K1 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law
    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General
    • P14 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Property Rights
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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