Peter Murrell
University of Maryland



(Monday, 18th May 2009)

Title : Constitutions and Economic Development

Download the presentation - 144.33 KB

Does the adoption of new laws spur economic change? This is a fundamental question of economic development, particularly stark in the analysis of constitutions, which apply to whole economies. In ongoing research, I am examining the effects of constitutional changes in England in 1689 and 1701. To North and Weingast (1989), in contrast to Hayek (1960), these changes were decisive. I relate the ideas of North-Weingast and Hayek to debates on transition, to research on institutions and culture, and to deliberations on the relationship between law and economic development. Results from my own research suggest that the North-Weingast analysis does not provide a paradigm for understanding the effects of constitutions, at least when applied to the process of economic development in England.

Bibliographical references :

Quinn, Stephen. "The Glorious Revolution of 1688". EH.Net Encyclopedia, edited by Robert Whaples. April 17, 2003.

Hansen, Bruce "The New Econometrics of Structural Change: Dating Breaks in U.S. Labour Productivity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 15(4), pages 117-128, Fall 2001

North and Weingast. "Constitutions and Commitment: Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in 17th-Century England"  J. Ec History, 1989.

Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, University of Chicago Press, 1960.  Selected excerpts.