Purchase, Patronage, and Professions: Incentives and the Evolution of Public Office in Pre-Modern Britain - 10.1628/0932456054254452 - Mohr Siebeck
Economics

Douglas W. Allen

Purchase, Patronage, and Professions: Incentives and the Evolution of Public Office in Pre-Modern Britain

Volume 161 () / Issue 1, pp. 57-79 (23)

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Prior to the 19th century virtually all European civil appointments were made through outright sale or patronage, and the offices were effectively private property. During the first half of the 19th century almost all of these offices converted to professional bureaucracies with salaried employees. This paper explains the choice over purchase and patronage prior to 1800, and the later transition to professions, using the NIE hypothesis that the crown was interesting in maximizing the value of its offices, and therefore, its own treasury. This hypothesis is tested by examining three branches of the British civil service: the military, judiciary, and treasury.
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