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Taxes, lawyers, and the decline of witch trials in France

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  • Johnson, Noel D
  • Koyama, Mark

Abstract

This paper explores the rise of the fiscal state in the early modern period and its impact on legal capacity. To measure legal capacity, we establish that witchcraft trials were more likely to take place where the central state had weak legal insti- tutions. Combining data on the geographic distribution of witchcraft trials with unique panel data on tax receipts across 21 French regions, we find that the rise of the tax state can account for much of the decline in witch trials during this period. Further historical evidence supports our hypothesis that higher taxes led to better legal institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2011. "Taxes, lawyers, and the decline of witch trials in France," MPRA Paper 34266, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34266
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rule of Law; Witchcraft; France; Institutions; Fiscal Capacity; Legal Capacity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • P48 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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