State Capacity, Legal Design and the Venality of Judicial Offices

39 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020

See all articles by Bertrand Crettez

Bertrand Crettez

University of Burgundy Franche-Comté - L.I.B.R.E.

Bruno Deffains

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas; Institut Universitaire de France

Olivier Musy

Paris II Panthéon Assas

Ronan Tallec

Universite de Toulouse 1 Capitole

Date Written: January 11, 2020

Abstract

We develop a model of venal judicial offices, i.e., sales of public positions in the judicial sector, which were used extensively in France (and many other European countries) during the 17th and 18th centuries, and which led to vastly improved French State capacity despite limited opportunities to raise taxes and to borrow. In this model, venality provides financial resources for the ruler, at the cost of less control over judicial decisions. We rely on this model to provide an analytic narrative of the rise and the decline of venality in Old Regime France.

Keywords: Venal Justice, Legal Design, Legal Capacity, Legal Centralization, Macroeconomics of Law, French Old Regime

JEL Classification: K40, N40

Suggested Citation

Crettez, Bertrand and Deffains, Bruno and Musy, Olivier and Tallec, Ronan, State Capacity, Legal Design and the Venality of Judicial Offices (January 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3552920 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3552920

Bertrand Crettez

University of Burgundy Franche-Comté - L.I.B.R.E. ( email )

avenue de l'Observatoire
F25030 Besancon
France

Bruno Deffains

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 05, 75005
France

Institut Universitaire de France ( email )

103, bld Saint-Michel
75005 Paris
France

Olivier Musy (Contact Author)

Paris II Panthéon Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris
France

Ronan Tallec

Universite de Toulouse 1 Capitole ( email )

2 Rue du Doyen-Gabriel-Marty
Toulouse, 31042
France

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