The Evolution of Criminal Law and Police During the Pre-Modern Era

The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 540-567, 2011

Posted: 29 Aug 2012

See all articles by Douglas W. Allen

Douglas W. Allen

Simon Fraser University

Yoram Barzel

University of Washington

Date Written: October 28, 2011

Abstract

Increased standardization was a by-product of technical innovations during the Industrial Revolution. An unfortunate side effect of standardization was enhanced opportunities for theft and embezzlement. Two significant modern institutions radically evolved during the eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries to control these growing problems: criminal law and public police. These institutions strongly interacted with the pace of the Industrial Revolution. Our argument explains this evolution and is tested through an analysis of several historical facts: the role of early police, the fall of the watch system, the creation of improvement commissions, the removal of possession immunity, the rise and fall of factory colonies, and the fall and rise of court cases during the eighteenth century.

JEL Classification: N43, K14

Suggested Citation

Allen, Douglas W. and Barzel, Yoram, The Evolution of Criminal Law and Police During the Pre-Modern Era (October 28, 2011). The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 540-567, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2138380

Douglas W. Allen (Contact Author)

Simon Fraser University ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada
604-291-3445 (Phone)
604-291-5944 (Fax)

Yoram Barzel

University of Washington ( email )

Box 353330
Seattle, WA 98195-3330
United States
206-543-2510 (Phone)
206-685-7477 (Fax)

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