The Rise and Decline of European Parliaments, 1188–1789

27 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012

See all articles by Jan Luiten Van Zanden

Jan Luiten Van Zanden

Utrecht University

Eltjo Buringh

Utrecht University

Erik Maarten Bosker

University of Groningen; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2012

Abstract

This article quantifies the activities of medieval and early modern parliaments. It traces the long‐term evolution of this European institution, and offers a first pass at analysing its impact on long‐term economic development. Starting in Spain in the twelfth century, parliaments gradually spread over the Latin west between 1200 and 1500. In the early modern period, parliaments declined in influence in southern and central Europe and further gained in importance in the Netherlands and Britain, resulting in an institutional ‘Little Divergence’ between 1500 and 1800. We discuss the background of this phenomenon in detail. Moreover, by analysing the effects of parliamentary activity on city growth we find that these differences in institutional development help to explain the economic divergence between north‐western and southern and central Europe.

Suggested Citation

Van Zanden, Jan Luiten and Buringh, Eltjo and Bosker, Erik Maarten, The Rise and Decline of European Parliaments, 1188–1789 (August 2012). The Economic History Review, Vol. 65, Issue 3, pp. 835-861, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2098279 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0289.2011.00612.x

Eltjo Buringh

Utrecht University

Erik Maarten Bosker

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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