Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2017||The Medieval Roots of Inclusive Institutions: From the Norman Conquest of England to the Great Reform Act|
with Simone Meraglia, Nico Voigtländer: w23606
We study the process that led to the inclusion of merchant towns in the English Parliament, using a novel comprehensive dataset for 549 medieval English towns (boroughs). Our analysis begins with the Norman Conquest in 1066 – an event of enormous political change that resulted in largely homogenous formal institutions across England. From this starting point, we document a two-step process: First, monitoring issues and asymmetric information led to inefficiencies in the king’s tax collection, especially with the onset of the Commercial Revolution in the 12th century. This gave rise to mutually beneficial agreements (Farm Grants), whereby medieval merchant towns obtained the right of self-administered tax collection and law enforcement. Second, we show that Farm Grants were stepping stones ...