Fragmented Authority from Ancien Régime to Modernity: A Quantitative Analysis
Journal of Institutional Economics, Vol. 6, No. 3
34 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2007 Last revised: 25 Jul 2010
Date Written: May 2, 2009
This paper performs a systematic analysis that examines institutional fragmentation in terms of customs tariffs within states west of the Rhine from 1700 to 1815 and between states east of the Rhine from 1815 to 1871. Internal customs zones are measured in two ways: physical size and urban population. Both methods use 175 sample cities as described by De Vries (1984) in England, France, the Netherlands, and Spain as the basic unit of account. The results indicate that customs zones west of the Rhine were small prior to the French Revolution but grew dramatically from 1789 onwards. They thus provide definitive evidence of divided authority in Ancien Régime Europe. The measurement of external customs zones uses 117 sample cities in the German and Italian territories. The findings indicate a remarkable degree of institutional consolidation between states east of the Rhine over the 1800s.
JEL Classification: N43, P48, O18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation