‘I Intend therefore to Prorogue’: the effects of political conflict and the Glorious Revolution in English parliament (2018) European Review of Economic History 22 (3): 261-297
editor's choice/lead article; published version available here
article in The Washington Post’s MonkeyCage Politics Blog (link)
article in Oxford University Press Blog (link)
Select Working Papers
Labor Demand and the Costs of Legal Coercion: Evidence from the British Cape Colony
working paper available here
Abstract: Employers will use coercion to induce effort by employees if the value of the good to be produced is high, the costs of coercion are low, and workers have few outside options. This paper studies agriculturalists' efforts to alter the costs of coercion and workers' outside options by changing labor laws in the British Cape Colony. I construct a dataset of political pressure, petitions to the local Cape Parliament to amend labor laws, across divisions from 1854 to 1899 using archival sources. The main analysis exploits within division variation from a large exogenous increase in the value of wheat and therefore the value of coercion to agricultural employers. Specifically, I examine the political response of farmers to demand shocks following the creation of a new market for wheat after the discovery of diamonds near Kimberley in 1867. Wheat intense divisions had significantly more petitions to change labor laws when the demand for wheat increased. The second part of the analysis examines the effect of an investment in legal capacity of the state, an expansion of the court system in 1892, that lowered the costs of coercion on coercive activity using a difference-in-difference approach. The investment is associated with an increase in coercive activity (criminal accusations). Divisions that had previously petitioned for coercive labor laws were largely responsible for this increase.
‘To destroy the settlement of estate’? the Glorious Revolution and estate acts of parliament, 1660–1702
working paper available here
Abstract: This article sheds light on the way the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England affected property rights to land. From 1660 to 1702, the bulk of parliament’s legislative work was on estate acts that reorganized families’ rights to land use. Using a random sample of 65 estate acts, the article finds that the Revolution broadened political access to parliament. I show acts were primarily for members of parliament and their families, but new acts after 1688 had secondary connections to MPs as trustees. It also finds that the composition of the acts changed after the Revolution because landholders sought to break strict settlements, a new form of property conveyance. The findings establish the place of estate acts in the broad narrative of the Glorious Revolution and help to explain the development of capitalism in England.
‘A collection of unruly gentlemen’? Explaining Parliament’s Functioning in Seventeenth-Century England
article in the Economic History Society’s The Long Run blog (link)
Abstract: This paper combines a panel dataset on the population of Members of Parliament (MPs) with their private estate bill committee work to assess the effect of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 on the internal organization of parliament. It first documents the committee membership network is characteristic of a “star network” in every session suggesting MPs were named to committees so that parliament was well-organized. Second, it examines how constitutional changes to public finance and political changes, such as the development of political parties, with the Revolution of 1688 altered the types MPs that were important to the network. It finds chairmen of finance bills (supply and ways and means) were no longer important to the network after 1688. MPs affiliated with political parties also became less important after the Revolution. The findings show how integrated parliamentary organization was during this period and that the Glorious Revolution, by altering fundamental political issues, also changed parliament’s internal organization.
Select Research in Progress
Property Rights Change in Seventeenth-Century England: Evidence from Estate Acts of Parliament
Parliament, Property Rights, and London's Expansion: 1700-1830 (with Dan Bogart and Gary Richardson)
Members of Parliament, 1660-1834: A New Database