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During the nineteenth century most Western societies extended voting rights, a decision that led to unprecedented redistributive programs. We argue that these political reforms can be viewed as strategic decisions by the political elite to prevent widespread social unrest and revolution. Political transition, rather than redistribution under existing(More)
Johnson, Kaufmann, and Shleifer (1997) find that the share of the unofficial economy in GDP is determined by the extent of control rights held by politicians and bureaucrats in post-communist economies. Exploring in more detail the role of bribes and using a broader data set from the OECD, Latin America, and transition economies, we find that the unofficial(More)
The main challenge of the transition has been to redefine the way in which the state interacts with firms. However, little attention has been paid to the flipside of this relationship, namely the way in which firms exert influence on the state. In only a decade, the fear of the leviathan state has given way to an increasing focus on oligarchs with the power(More)
4 1 Special thanks to Claudia Goldin and Joel Mokyr for their insightful and detailed comments. We also had very helpful discussions with Participants in many seminars and conferences gave helpful comments. Abstract From the end of the second century C.E., Judaism enforced a religious norm requiring any Jewish father to educate his children. We present(More)
  • 2007
The motives and consequences of financial regulation are being hotly debated. Yet, this debate is hardly new. We study the political economy of state usury laws in 19th century America as a microcosm for financial regulation today. Using unique data on state policies, enforcement, and economic conditions, we study the rich landscape of the political economy(More)
In the course of the second millennium, the Middle East's commerce with Western Europe fell increasingly under European domination. Two factors played critical roles. First, the Islamic inheritance system, by raising the costs of dissolving a partnership following a partner's death, kept Middle Eastern commercial enterprises small and ephemeral. Second,(More)
Relying on a quantitative analysis of the patenting and assignment behavior of inventors, we highlight the evolution of institutions that encouraged trade in technology and a growing division of labor between those who invented new technologies and those who exploited them commercially over the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. At the heart of this(More)
* We wish to thank Dee Sutthiphisal, Dennis Tao and Hairong Yu for their tremendous assistance in organizing the database, To Nhu Dao for excellent research assistance, and Francis Colaco, David Dollar, and Dominique Dwor-Frecaut, whose support and guidance were instrumental to the survey initiative. We also benefited from discussions with gratefully(More)