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Law and Long-Term Economic ChangeA Eurasian Perspective$
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Debin Ma and Jan Luiten van Zanden

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804772730

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804772730.001.0001

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British Legal Institutions and Transaction Costs in the Early Transport Revolution

British Legal Institutions and Transaction Costs in the Early Transport Revolution

Chapter:
(p.323) Chapter Fifteen British Legal Institutions and Transaction Costs in the Early Transport Revolution
Source:
Law and Long-Term Economic Change
Author(s):
Dan Bogart
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804772730.003.0015

This chapter discusses the link between British legal institutions and infrastructure development in early modern Britain. It examines the era following the Glorious Revolution that saw a shift in the use of juries in legal trials to recommend compensation for land acquired for road, river, canal, and railway projects. It suggests that juries redistributed profits from river navigation promoters to landowners and in the process discouraged projects at the margin of profitability. It concludes that jury redistribution provides an important illustration of how the “losers” gain from changes in property rights in an era when Britain was undergoing rapid economic transformation.

Keywords:   British legal institutions, infrastructure development, early modern Britain, Glorious Revolution, profit redistribution, jury redistribution

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