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  • Cited by 6
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Beramendi, Pablo Dincecco, Mark and Rogers, Melissa 2019. Intra-Elite Competition and Long-Run Fiscal Development. The Journal of Politics, Vol. 81, Issue. 1, p. 49.

    Beramendi, Pablo and Rogers, Melissa 2018. Disparate geography and the origins of tax capacity. The Review of International Organizations,

    Knutsen, Carl Henrik Møller, Jørgen and Skaaning, Svend-Erik 2016. Going historical: Measuring democraticness before the age of mass democracy. International Political Science Review, Vol. 37, Issue. 5, p. 679.

    Harris, Carolyn 2016. Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe. p. 155.

    Libman, Alexander and Obydenkova, Anastassia 2014. International Trade as a Limiting Factor in Democratization: an Analysis of Subnational Regions in Post-Communist Russia. Studies in Comparative International Development, Vol. 49, Issue. 2, p. 168.

    Bedock, Camille 2014. Explaining the determinants and processes of institutional change. French Politics, Vol. 12, Issue. 4, p. 357.


Book description

This book explains why contemporary liberal democracies are based on historical templates rather than revolutionary reforms; why the transition in Europe occurred during a relatively short period in the nineteenth century; why politically and economically powerful men and women voluntarily supported such reforms; how interests, ideas, and pre-existing institutions affected the reforms adopted; and why the countries that liberalized their political systems also produced the Industrial Revolution. The analysis is organized in three parts. The first part develops new rational choice models of (1) governance, (2) the balance of authority between parliaments and kings, (3) constitutional exchange, and (4) suffrage reform. The second part provides historical overviews and detailed constitutional histories of six important countries. The third part provides additional evidence in support of the theory, summarizes the results, contrasts the approach taken in this book with that of other scholars, and discusses methodological issues.


‘If we know how we got here, we know more about how to proceed. This book is a comprehensive effort to help us understand the evolution of the political institutions of Western democracies. The analysis is generalized across several countries with separate but comparable histories. Emphasis is on peaceful processes of institutional development as opposed to romanticized revolutionary change. An exemplary exercise in explanatory social science.’

James M. Buchanan - Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1986, George Mason University

‘It is rare to find an economist who is a serious student of political history. Roger Congleton’s new book is a powerful contribution to historical institutionalism.’

Iain McLean, FBA - Oxford University

‘Roger Congleton has written a masterful account of the evolution of parliamentary democracy in the West. The book is filled with insightful discussions of the transition to democracy in different countries. It should be of interest for all students of democracy.’

Dennis C. Mueller - University of Vienna, Austria

‘Roger Congleton has spent years perfecting his knowledge of democratic governance - an extraordinary effort of great value for scholars, students, politicians, and citizens.’

Elinor Ostrom - Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2009, Indiana University

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