Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 313–355 | Cite as

The origins and evolution of democracy: an exercise in history from a constitutional economics approach

  • Sebastian Coll
Original Paper


In this article the conditions for the rise and fall of representative regimes are explored. High citizen mobility and unexploited opportunities for investment create the need of reassuring factor owners against the tax hunger of the State. This may lead to the emergence of representative institutions of government, a process that reverts when those conditions disappear. Factors that facilitate or restrain the mobility of citizenry are identified, mainly in the domain of military technology. Thus, a number of interrelations between production and war technologies, political development and economic performance are revealed, giving rise to an interpretation of historical evolution.


Historical origins of parliaments and democracy Evolution of political institutions Historical evolution 

JEL Classification

N40 H20 H21 H30 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CantabriaSantanderSpain

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