The Legacy of Representation in Medieval Europe for Incomes and Institutions Today

Southern Economic Journal (forthcoming)

53 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2017 Last revised: 24 Mar 2021

See all articles by Jamie Bologna Pavlik

Jamie Bologna Pavlik

Texas Tech University - Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics

Andrew T. Young

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business

Date Written: March 2021

Abstract

Why can some governments credibly commit to the rule of law and protection of
property rights while others cannot? A potential answer involves deep historical traditions of
institutions that constrain rulers. We explore whether experiences with representative assemblies
in medieval/early modern Europe have left their mark on incomes and institutions today. We
employ Stasavage’s (2010) data on representative assembly activity in 30 medieval/early modern
European polities and the Putterman and Weil (2010) data on descendancy shares from circa
1500 populations to construct country-level measures of historical assembly experience. In a
cross-country analysis, we find that assembly experience is positively and significantly
correlated with current incomes, a measure of the rule of law and property rights, and the Polity
IV index that emphasizes executive constraint. Once the latter two variables are controlled for,
the estimated effect of assembly experience on current incomes is insignificant.

Keywords: representative assemblies, political economy, medieval, institutions, property rights, rule of law, growth and development

JEL Classification: D72, O10, O43, P14, P16, P48, P50

Suggested Citation

Bologna Pavlik, Jamie and Young, Andrew T., The Legacy of Representation in Medieval Europe for Incomes and Institutions Today (March 2021). Southern Economic Journal (forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3032584 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3032584

Jamie Bologna Pavlik

Texas Tech University - Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics ( email )

Suite 167, 2625 Memorial Circle
TTU Administration
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

Andrew T. Young (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business ( email )

Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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