Financial capitalism emerged in a recognisably modern form in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Great Britain. Following the seminal work of Douglass C. North and Barry R. Weingast (1989), many scholars have concluded that the 'credible commitment' that was provided by parliamentary backing of government as a result of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 provided the key institutional underpinning on which modern public finances depend. In this book, a specially commissioned group of historians and economists examine and challenge the North and Weingast thesis to show that multiple commitment mechanisms were necessary to convince public creditors that sovereign debt constituted a relatively accessible, safe and liquid investment vehicle. Questioning Credible Commitment provides academics and practitioners with a broader understanding of the origins of financial capitalism, and, with its focus on theoretical and policy frameworks, shows the significance of the debate to current macroeconomic policy making.
- Presents a broad analysis of the multiple factors leading to a state's financial credibility, revealing the origins for financial capitalism and the significance of the credible commitment debate to current macroeconomic policy making
- Explores government borrowing and confidence in state credit-worthiness; in the current environment of concerns over national debts, economists and policymakers can learn much about the mechanisms of governments' credibility as borrowers
- Features contributions from an interdisciplinary range of historians and economists
D'Maris Coffman is the Mary Bateson Research Fellow at Newnham College, Director of the Centre for Financial History and Affiliated Lecturer in the History Faculty, University of Cambridge.
Adrian Leonard is a Bateman Scholar at Trinity Hall and an Affiliated Researcher at the Centre for Financial History, Newnham College, University of Cambridge.
Larry Neal is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science.