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Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England

Douglass North and Barry Weingast ()

The Journal of Economic History, 1989, vol. 49, issue 4, 803-832

Abstract: The article studies the evolution of the constitutional arrangements in seventeenth-century England following the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It focuses on the relationship between institutions and the behavior of the government and interprets the institutional changes on the basis of the goals of the winners—secure property rights, protection of their wealth, and the elimination of confiscatory government. We argue that the new institutions allowed the government to commit credibly to upholding property rights. Their success was remarkable, as the evidence from capital markets shows.

Date: 1989
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