Financial Property Rights Under Colonialism: Some Counterfactual Possibilities

ABHISHEK CHATTERJEE

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL ECONOMICS, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp. 797-824

Abstract: This article seeks to explain the lack of the development of contemporaneously ‘modern’ money and credit markets in the 18th to 19th century economy of India. Borrowing from the literature on property rights, it demonstrates that the emergence of ‘modern’, and state-connected money markets was the result of a certain kind of power relationship between rulers and financial capital holders where the two were forced to mutually cooperate; financial systems represented the institutionalization of this mutual cooperation. Specific kinds of ‘colonialism’ represent just one special case of a relationship where the latter did not obtain. The article thus proposes a mechanism though which the spread of European capital could have retarded financial market formation in now-developing areas with otherwise considerable concentration of ‘native’ mercantile capital.

The Impact of Holy Land Crusades on State Formation: War Mobilization, Trade Integration, and Political Development in Medieval Europe

LISA BLAYDES AND CHRISTOPHER PAIK
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION, VOLUME 70, ISSUE 3

Abstract: Holy Land Crusades were among the most significant forms of military mobilization to occur during the medieval period. Crusader mobilization had important implications for European state formation. We find that areas with large numbers of Holy Land crusaders witnessed increased political stability and institutional development as well as greater urbanization associated with rising trade and capital accumulation, even after taking into account underlying levels of religiosity and economic development. Our findings contribute to a scholarly debate regarding when the essential elements of the modern state first began to appear. Although our causal mechanisms—which focus on the importance of war preparation and urban capital accumulation—resemble those emphasized by previous research, we date the point of critical transition to statehood centuries earlier, in line with scholars who emphasize the medieval origins of the modern state. We also point to one avenue by which the rise of Muslim military and political power may have affected European institutional development.

Two Concepts of Religious Liberty: The Natural Rights and Moral Autonomy Approaches to the Free Exercise of Religion

VINCENT PHILLIP MUÑOZ
AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW 110.2 (2016): 369-381

Abstract: Due in part to the influence of Michael McConnell, free exercise exemptionism is generally thought to be compatible with, if not dictated by, the founders’ church-state political philosophy. This article rejects that position, arguing instead that America’s constitutional tradition offers two distinct conceptions of religious liberty: the founders’ natural rights free exercise and modern moral autonomy exemptionism. The article aims to distinguish these two approaches by clarifying how they are grounded upon divergent philosophical understandings of human freedom and by explaining how they advance different views of what religious liberty is, how it is threatened, and, accordingly, how it is best protected. The article also attempts to demonstrate how our modern approach expands the protection for religious liberty in some ways but limits it in others.

Representation without Taxation, Taxation without Consent: The Legacy of Spanish Colonialism in America

ALEJANDRA IRIGOIN
REVISTA DE HISTORIA ECONÓMICA / JOURNAL OF IBERIAN AND LATIN AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY, 34.2 (2016): 369-381

Abstract: The essay examines Spain’s colonial legacy in the long-run development of Spanish America. It surveys the fiscal and constitutional outcomes of independence and assesses the relative burden imposed by colonialism. Constitutional asymmetries between revenue collecting and spending agents constrained de facto governments’ power to tax. Inherent disparities embedded in the colonial fiscal system worsened with vaguely defined representation for subjects and territories and vexed their aggregation into a modern representative polity. Governments with limited fiscal capacity failed to deliver public goods and to distribute the costs and benefits of independence equitably. Growing indirect taxes, debt and money creation allowed them to transfer the fiscal burden to other constituents or future generations. Taxpayers became aware of the asymmetry between private contributions and public goods and hence favoured a low but regressive taxation. Comparisons with trajectories in the metropolis and the United States are offered to qualify this legacy.

Two Concepts of Religious Liberty: The Natural Rights and Moral Autonomy Approaches to the Free Exercise of Religion

VINCENT PHILLIP MUÑOZ
AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW 110.2 (2016): 369-381

Abstract: Due in part to the influence of Michael McConnell, free exercise exemptionism is generally thought to be compatible with, if not dictated by, the founders’ church-state political philosophy. This article rejects that position, arguing instead that America’s constitutional tradition offers two distinct conceptions of religious liberty: the founders’ natural rights free exercise and modern moral autonomy exemptionism. The article aims to distinguish these two approaches by clarifying how they are grounded upon divergent philosophical understandings of human freedom and by explaining how they advance different views of what religious liberty is, how it is threatened, and, accordingly, how it is best protected. The article also attempts to demonstrate how our modern approach expands the protection for religious liberty in some ways but limits it in others.

We Start from Here

RUSSEL HARDIN
CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY (2016). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. DOI 10.1007/s10602-016-9218-6

Abstract: As James Buchanan often asserted, in constitutional design “we start from here” which is to say we design a constitution to fit the institutions, social practices and so forth that we already have. Comparison of the complicated case of the US constitution and the failed attempt at constitutionalism in contemporary Egypt suggest that many societies are not yet ready for serious constitutional design. The English civil wars were about religion; the US constitution ignores religion and thereby avoids the grim conflict of church and state.

Social Mobility and Stability of Democracy: Re-evaluating De Tocqueville

DARON ACEMOGLU, GEORGY EGOROV, KONSTANTIN SONIN
NBER WORKING PAPER NO. 22174 (April 2016)

Abstract: An influential thesis often associated with De Tocqueville views social mobility as a bulwark of democracy: when members of a social group expect to join the ranks of other social groups in the near future, they should have less reason to exclude these other groups from the political process. In this paper, we investigate this hypothesis using a dynamic model of political economy. As well as formalizing this argument, our model demonstrates its limits, elucidating a robust theoretical force making democracy less stable in societies with high social mobility: when the median voter expects to move up (respectively down), she would prefer to give less voice to poorer (respectively richer) social groups. Continue reading