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Unformatted text preview: tributed. This led to far fewer rents from holding
power, fewer power struggles, greater stability.
James A. Robinson (Harvard) The Emergence of Modern Economic Growth: A Comparative and28, 2009 Analysis
2 / 12 Structural Change
The political settlement of 1688 in Britain could not endure for ever.
It was more like an elite pact, but until then it was the elites who had
struggled over the rents (modulo the odd popular uprising like in 1381
Industrialization led to large structural changes in society and
urbanization and the factory system concentrated large numbers of
politically disenfranchised people in the same place where it was much
easier to solve the collective action problem.
Leaving these people outside the system risked revolution, but
incorporating them risked destabilizing property rights (threat of
populism, etc.). These di¤erent perspectives were intensively debated
and the First Reform Act of 1832 in Britain was a compromise - to
generate political stability with the smallest possible concession (by
weakening property and wealth restrictions it doubled the number of
adult males who had the vote to...
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- Fall '09