How did religious, political, and economic freedom emerge? To answer this question, we study the evolution of Parliament in late medieval England, and the religious and political conflicts between King and Parliament that began following the Reformation and which culminated in the Glorious Revolution and the establishment of a limited monarchy.
This project uses novel methods and data to approach this long-standing question. We model coalition formation among England’s elites in order to understand the incentives facing the King in acceding to, or opposing, Parliament. This sheds light on the conditions under which violent conflict is likely to erupt. We then use the model to examine why the Reformation generated higher levels of violence and tension, and how such conflict eventually produced the English Civil Wars and intensified the struggle between King and Parliament, ultimately culminating in the Glorious Revolution.
We test our framework using several newly constructed databases of England's religious, political, and economic elites at various critical junctures in history. Combining theoretical and empirical analyses, this project generates new insights into the conditions that allow religious freedom, limited government, and market liberalism to emerge.