IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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

  • Johnson, Noel D
  • Koyama, Mark

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34266.

in new window

Date of creation: 21 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34266
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dincecco, Mark & Federico, Giovanni & Vindigni, Andrea, 2011. "Warfare, Taxation, and Political Change: Evidence from the Italian Risorgimento," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(04), pages 887-914, December.
  2. Dincecco, Mark, 2010. "Fragmented authority from Ancien Régime to modernity: a quantitative analysis," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(03), pages 305-328, September.
  3. Johnson, Noel D., 2006. "Banking on the King: The Evolution of the Royal Revenue Farms in Old Regime France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(04), pages 963-991, December.
  4. Emily Oster, 2004. "Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 215-228, Winter.
  5. Dan Bogart & Gary Richardson, 2008. "Making Property Productive: Reorganizing Rights to Real and Equitable Estates in Britain, 1660 to 1830," NBER Working Papers 14107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Komlos, John & Hau, Michel & Bourginat, Nicolas, 2003. "An Anthropometric History of Early-Modern France," Discussion Papers in Economics 54, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Bogart, Dan & Richardson, Gary, 2009. "Making property productive: reorganizing rights to real and equitable estates in Britain, 1660–1830," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 3-30, April.
  8. Patrick O'Brien, 2011. "The nature and historical evolution of an exceptional fiscal state and its possible significance for the precocious commercialization and industrialization of the British economy from Cromwell to Nels," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(2), pages 408-446, 05.
  9. Areendam Chanda & Louis Putterman, 2004. "Early Starts, Reversals and Catchup in The Process of Economic Development," Working Papers 2004-04, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  10. Louis Putterman & Valerie Bockstette, 2000. "States and Markets:the Advantage of an Early Start," Working Papers 2000-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  11. Dincecco, Mark, 2009. "Fiscal Centralization, Limited Government, and Public Revenues in Europe, 1650–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(01), pages 48-103, March.
  12. Balla, Eliana & Johnson, Noel D., 2009. "Fiscal Crisis and Institutional Change in the Ottoman Empire and France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 809-845, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34266. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.