Companies and the Rise of Economic Thought: The Institutional Foundations of Early Economics in England, 1550 to 1720
35 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2017
Date Written: December 26, 2016
Seventeenth-century England was the site of a profound transformation of early economic thought. The amount of works published increased rapidly and the works became less concerned with morality and scripture and more concerned with national prosperity and empirical evidence. We show that the proliferation of the chartered company in a context of low state representation of merchants play an important role in this shift. We outline the mechanisms through which chartered companies impacted publication rates of economic texts and provide systematic evidence of the impact of companies and merchant representation with a time series analysis of the period from 1550 to 1720 that controls for a number of other possible factors. We further supplement this analysis with data on author biographies and the changing contents of the works. The results are consistent in supporting the importance of chartered company in stimulating the new discourse on economics and suggest a new appreciation of the role of corporatism in stimulating both economic discourse and the shape of the early expansion of the public sphere in England.
Keywords: Chartered Companies, Economic Thought, Early-Modern England, Organizations, Cultural Change
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