Employment preservation and textile regulation in early modern England, 1550–1640



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Cambridge University Press


Much agreement exists among economic historians that an institutional structure which allows for broad participation in a country's economy is conducive to growth. With respect to England's institutional structure, changes that followed the Glorious Revolution of 1688 are given pride of place in recent literature. This article contributes to this literature by highlighting and explaining regulatory change that removed barriers to entry into the country's most vital industry, textiles, in the years between 1550 and 1640. However, although economic historians have tended to explain England's growth-facilitating institutions as arising abruptly through political revolution that placed constraints on the Crown, this article will elucidate change that was protracted, accretive, peaceful, and came through royal institutions. More specifically, this article argues that restrictive regulations, which were widely supported, were removed because Crown and Council, in consultation with local officials, recognized that enforcement would come at the cost of the greater priority of employment preservation.


Copyright © Millennium Economics Ltd 2021. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


N43 - Europe, Pre-1913


Gendron JH (2021). Employment preservation and textile regulation in early modern England, 1550–1640. Journal of Institutional Economics 17, 529–543. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1744137421000187