The Economics of UK Constitutional Change: Introduction

| Publication date: 5 Aug 2015 | Theme: Exiting the EU | NIESR Author(s): Angus Armstrong; Monique Ebell | Journal: National Institute Economic Review Vol 233 | Publisher: Sage Publications, London


The tectonic plates of UK economic and political power are shifting. The Glorious Revolution in 1688 brought institutional reforms, including the Bill of Rights, that aligned political and taxation power in Westminster. In their famous study, North and Weingast (1989) interpreted this alignment as a necessary condition for the industrial revolution to take place in England. Local government functioned through parishes, boroughs and counties which survived most of the next century before consolidating into regional authorities. Over the next two centuries, UK government became increasingly centralised in line with political enfranchisement.

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