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Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution

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  • J. Bradford De Long
  • Andrei Shleifer

Abstract

As measured by the pace of city growth in western Europe from 1000 to 1800. absolutist monarchs stunted the growth of commerce and industry. A region ruled by an absolutist prince saw its total urban population shrink by one hundred thousand people per century relative to a region without absolutist government. This might be explained by higher rates of taxation under revenue-maximizing absolutist governments than under non-absolutist governments. which care more about general economic prosperity and less about State revenue.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer, 1993. "Princes and Merchants: European City Growth before the Industrial Revolution," NBER Working Papers 4274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4274
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    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General

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