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Comparative European Institutions and the Little Divergence, 1385-1800

António Henriques and Nuno Palma

Economics Discussion Paper Series from Economics, The University of Manchester

Abstract: Why did the countries that first benefited from access to the New World - Castile and Portugal - decline relative to their followers, especially England and the Netherlands? The dominant narrative is that worse initial institutions at the time of the opening of the Atlantic trade explain the Iberian divergence. In this paper, we build a new dataset which allows for a comparison of institutional quality over time. We consider the frequency and nature of parliamentary meetings, the frequency and intensity of extraordinary taxation and coin debasement, and real interest rates together with spreads for public debt. We find no evidence that the political institutions of Portugal and Spain were worse until the English Civil War.

Keywords: Atlantic Traders; New Institutional Economics; the Little Divergence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N13 N23 O10 P14 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem, nep-gro and nep-his
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Forthcoming in Journal of Economic Growth.

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Related works:
Working Paper: Comparative European institutions and the Little Divergence, 1385-1800 (2021) Downloads
Working Paper: Comparative European Institutions and the Little Divergence, 1385-1800 (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Comparative European Institutions and the Little Divergence, 1385-1800 (2019) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:man:sespap:2204

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