Mark Dincecco
Fiscal Centralization, Limited Government, and Public Revenues in Europe, 1650-1913

Abstract:Most polities in Ancien Regime Europe suffered from fiscal fragmentation and absolutist rule. By the start of World War I, however, many of these same countries had centralized institutions and limited government. Using a newly assembled panel data set of per-capita revenues, this paper carries out a systematic analysis of political regimes and public revenues in Europe over the 17th to 20th centuries. The results indicate that both centralized and limited regimes were associated with significantly higher levels of per-capita revenues than fragmented and absolutist ones, even after controlling for other economic and political factors. Tests for structural breaks support these findings, suggesting close relationships between major turning points in the revenue series and political transformations.

JEL: N23, P48, O16.
Keywords: Political Institutions, Public Finance, European History.



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