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Was the Glorious Revolution a Constitutional Watershed?

  • GARY W. COX (a1)

Douglass North and Barry Weingast's seminal account of the Glorious Revolution argued that specific constitutional reforms enhanced the credibility of the English Crown, leading to much stronger public finances. Critics have argued that the most important reforms occurred incrementally before the Revolution; and that neither interest rates on sovereign debt nor enforcement of property rights improved sharply after the Revolution. In this article, I identify a different set of constitutional reforms, explain why precedents for these reforms did not lessen their revolutionary impact, and show that the evidence, properly evaluated, supports a view of the Revolution as a watershed.

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