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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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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Witch hunts and taxes
      by René Böheim in Econ Tidbits on 2014-06-06 11:09:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Tuan-Hwee Sng & Chiaki Moriguchi, 2014. "Asia’s little divergence: state capacity in China and Japan before 1850," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 439-470, December.
    2. Ko, Chiu Yu & Koyama, Mark & Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Unified China; Divided Europe," MPRA Paper 60418, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Noel D., Johnson & Mark, Koyama, 2012. "Standardizing the fiscal state: cabal tax farming as an Intermediate Institution in early-modern England and France," MPRA Paper 40403, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Anderson, R. Warren & Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2013. "From the Persecuting to the Protective State? Jewish Expulsions and Weather Shocks from 1100 to 1800," MPRA Paper 44228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Noel D. Johnson & Mark Koyama, 2014. "Taxes, Lawyers, and the Decline of Witch Trials in France," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 77-112.
    6. Finley, Theresa & Koyama, Mark, 2016. "Plague, Politics, and Pogroms: The Black Death, Rule of Law, and the persecution of Jews in the Holy Roman Empire," MPRA Paper 72110, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Crettez, Bertrand & Deffains, Bruno & Musy, Olivier, 2016. "French legal origins: A Tocquevilian view," MPRA Paper 72582, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Ko, Chiu Yu & Koyama, Mark & Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Unified China and Divided Europe," CEI Working Paper Series 2014-7, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. Johnson, Noel, 2015. "Taxes, National Identity, and Nation Building: Evidence from France," MPRA Paper 63598, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Johnson, Noel D. & Koyama, Mark, 2013. "Legal centralization and the birth of the secular state," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 959-978.
    11. Koyama, Mark & Xue, Melanie Meng, 2015. "The Literary Inquisition: The Persecution of Intellectuals and Human Capital Accumulation in China," MPRA Paper 62103, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rule of Law; Witchcraft; France; Institutions; Fiscal Capacity; Legal Capacity;

    JEL classification:

    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; 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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