NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Barry Weingast

Contact and additional information for this authorAll papers and publicationsWorking Papers onlyWorking Papers with publication info

Working Papers

December 2006A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History
with Douglass C North, John Joseph Wallis: w12795
Neither economics nor political science can explain the process of modern social development. The fact that developed societies always have developed economies and developed polities suggests that the connection between economics and politics must be a fundamental part of the development process. This paper develops an integrated theory of economics and politics. We show how, beginning 10,000 years ago, limited access social orders developed that were able to control violence, provide order, and allow greater production through specialization and exchange. Limited access orders provide order by using the political system to limit economic entry to create rents, and then using the rents to stabilize the political system and limit violence. We call this type of political economy arrange...
June 2005Equilibrium Impotence: Why the States and Not the American National Government Financed Economic Development in the Antebellum Era
with John Joseph Wallis: w11397
Why did states dominate investments in economic development in early America? Between 1787 and 1860, the national government%u2019s $54 million on promoting transportation infrastructure while the states spent $450 million. Using models of legislative choice, we show that Congress could not finance projects that provided benefits to a minority of districts while spreading the taxes over all. Although states faced the same political problems, they used benefit taxation schemes -- for example, by assessing property taxes on the basis of the expected increase in value due to an infrastructure investment. The U.S. Constitution prohibited the federal government from using benefit taxation. Moreover, the federal government%u2019s expenditures were concentrated in collections small projects -- s...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll papers and publicationsWorking Papers onlyWorking Papers with publication info

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us