State Capacity, Legal Design and the Venality of Judicial Offices
39 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2020
Date Written: January 11, 2020
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: Suggested Citation