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  1. ‘What Have Henry VIII and Elizabeth I got to do with 21st-century development policy?‘ History and Policy Public Lecture at Gresham College 18 June 2013 Simon Szreter Professor of History and Public Policy U. Of Cambridge.

  2. History and Policy 2002-13: now a network of 400 historians, from UK and elsewhere • 150 online policy papers ranging from climate change to the credit crunch; searchable by theme, author or keyword. • A six-year partnership with BBC History Magazine: monthly H&P feature; • Bringing historians togovernment: evidence to Select Committees; the Prime Minister's Office, Cabinet Office, DEFRA, DFID, Department for Education Department for Culture, Media and Sport. • Twitter and Facebook followers including government and shadow ministers; • Provides history content for the No.10 website; • H&P highlighted by British Academy and AHRC as model of best practice. • International emulation: Australian Policy & History

  3. ‘What Have Henry VIII and Elizabeth I got to do with 21st-century development policy?‘

  4. Economists’ prior implicit historical knowledge about welfare states, growth and development: • Overall evaluation: not optimal for growth-promotion but perhaps an affordable luxury for more prosperous democracies; • Acknowledged virtues addressing market failure: safety net for casualties of economic progress; improving human capital of the impoverished; defusing injustices that can fuel discontent (Bismarck) • BUT: • A burden on ‘the productive economy’ • A tax on ‘wealth-creators’ • A moral hazard creating welfare-dependency, disincentives to work • Raises the price of labour • Disincentives to charity, philanthropy, volunteering, civil society • THEREFORE: • Inadvisable for development in low income countries where informal, familial social security cheaper and more appropriate

  5. Structure of presentation • A) Historians’ revisionism over the chronology of Britain’s industrial revolution • B) Economists’ revisionist focus on the importance of institutions for the growth of markets • C) The differential experience of Holland and England 1600-1800- an institutional explanation • D) historians’ new knowledge of the ‘Old’ Poor Law • E) A welfare state as a key pro-growth institution in the paradigm case: England’s emergence from low income • F) History > Policy: the influence of the history of Tudor legislation and social policy on Development Policy

  6. Contemporary Development Policy still reflecting the Historical Scholarship of the last generation on the Industrial Revolution in Britain • The 1950s-70s orthodoxy: ‘take-off’ 1780-1840 • I.C.O.R.: Capital Investment, technological innovation, entrepreneurship and private enterprise: producing explosive growth of markets1780-1840: steam engine, factory, railway, international trade. • Phyllis Deane and W. Cole, British Economic Growth 1688-1959 (1962) • W.W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth (1960; 3rd edition 1990)

  7. 1980-2000: the era of ‘Washington consensus’ in development policy; but also of a ‘revisionist historiography: ‘slow growth’: gradual, long-term • E.A. Wrigley and R.S. Schofield: The Population History of England, 1541-1871: A Reconstruction (1981) • C.K. Harley, ‘British Industrialisation before 1841: evidence of slower growth during the industrial revolution’ Journal Of Economic History 1982 • N. Crafts, British economic growth during the industrial revolution (1985)

  8. Institutions matter for markets! Douglass North (1993 Nobel Prize in Economics): Structure & Change in Economic History (1981) • Three interlocking institutions emerged in leading market economies of Holland and England between C12th and C17th: • Formal law: Individual private property rights (to buy or sell land without kin/community restraint) • Social norms: a rationalising belief system acknowledging the morality of commodity relations: interest (not usury), wage labour • State enforcement of laws and norms with credible and universal sanctions- ‘the rule of law’

  9. A unique English institution? Universal social security: the ‘Old’ Poor Law • A complete shift by c.1660 from crisis management in government response to dearth (food insecurity) through use of the Book of Orders, which abrogated the market through price and quantity controls, to a system of ‘entitlements’ (as defined by Amartya Sen) which left the grain market undisturbed while endowing the urban and rural poor with sufficient purchasing power (exchange entitlements) through transfer paymentsof the Poor Law (‘outdoor relief’) • Peter Solar, ‘Poor relief and English economic development before the industrial revolution’. Economic History Review 1995 • Steve Hindle, On the Parish? (Oxford 2004) • Lorie Charlesworth, Welfare’s Forgotten Past (Routledge 2010)

  10. The Elizabethan or ‘Old’ Poor Law: statutes ‘For the Relief of the Poor’ 1598 and 1601 • a universal legal right to relief for every subject • every one of England’s approximately 10,000 or more parishes mandated to create a parish fund • financed by a local tax pro rata to property value • to support the local poor all year round if necessary, not just in times of dearth • orphans, widows, the old and disabled and the unemployed all covered in principle. • By requiring the parish to levy an adequate poor rate from its property owners, an unstable pre-Reformation arrangement of purelyvoluntary Christian charity, dependent on wealthy individuals’ sense of religious obligation and so subject to the free rider problem, was superseded by a system of obligatory taxation for all wealth-holders in the parish. • (Abram De Swaan, A. (1988). In Care of the State, pp.21-36)

  11. Getting incentives right: The Charitable Uses Act, passed simultaneously in 1601 • From 1601 wealthy families were simultaneously further incentivised to earn kudos through charitable initiatives intelligently designed to enhance the personal independence of the poor – and incidentally reducing their long-term Poor Law costs! • Schools for Poor Scholars • Almshouses for the elderly • Subscription Hospitals • Encouraging a culture of creative local initiatives in Poor Law administration, too: • Apprenticeships for orphans • Salubrious cottages for the poor • Support for single mothers (cost recovery from fathers) • House of Industry in urban parishes • Poor Law Infirmaries (in Houses of Industry)

  12. The Poor Law: a universalist and mandatory but devolved system • Strengths: devolved administration high quality information • Potential weaknesses: local corruption free-riding between parishes unlimited liability

  13. Solutions to potential problems • J.P.s (Justices of the Peace; ‘Magistrates’) holding office at pleasure of the Crown but locally resident, providing cheap accessible justice available for the poor to make personal appeal ‘‘at the justice’s home or on the hunting field’ with immediate decision (Charlesworth, p.51) • Exclusion of free-riding parishes by Privy Council (the inner council created by Thomas Cromwell in the 1530s- vigorous until 1660, a precursor to the modern Cabinet) • The Settlement Laws (1662) plus parish registers

  14. ‘The Poor Law’ c.1660-1834 • Four interlocking institutions of local governance, mandated by central govt, providing an effective accessible welfare state • Poor Laws • Justices of the Peace • Settlement Laws • Parish Registers

  15. English Levels of Poor Law Relief • 1696 (Board of Trade returns): Poor Law funds sufficient for 6 months support for 10% of whole population (approx 1% National Income) • 1783-5 (Parl. Enquiry): Poor Law funds sufficient for 12 months support for 10% of whole population (approx 2% National Income) • 1802-3: 1 million (11% total population) on Poor Law relief (93% ‘outdoor relief’) • Source: Richard Smith’s chapter in Bayly, Rao, Szreter & Woolcock,eds, History, Historians and Development Policy (Manchester U. Press 2011)

  16. Evidence for Poor Law effectiveness for Population Health • Cambridge Group for the History of Population 4% sample (404 parishes) found no evidence of national or regional famine crisis mortality after 1623/4. • English population free from food insecurity over 150 years before any other countries of Western Europe

  17. Economic development and growth-enhancing properties of England’s welfare state institutions • Enhance planning, saving, prudential perspectives in a food-secure populace • Facilitated genuinely productivity-raising innovations in agriculture • capacity to promote labour mobility around the economy • capacity also to facilitate mobility and security of intergenerational capital (parish registers)

  18. Parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in Henry VIII’s new Church of England • Instituted in 1538 by injunction of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s Vicar-General and chief minister 1532-40. • ‘…for the avoiding of sundry strifes and processes and contentions arising from age, lineal descent , title of inheritance, legitimation of bastardy, and for knowledge, whether any person is our subject or no.’ • (statement issued by Cromwell to the Justices of the Peace in every county, explaining the primary function of the new parish registers

  19. Thomas Cromwell, 1485-1540 (portrait by Hans Holbein 1533)blacksmith’s son who became First Earl of Essex

  20. Land ownership in early modern England (% cultivated area): 14361688 • Church and Crown 25-35 5-10 • Great Magnates 15-20 15-20 • All others (middling 45-55 70-75 & lesser gentry, yeo- men farmers, small-holders) CGA Clay, Economic Expansion. England 1500-1700 (CUP 1984), p.143, Table V

  21. The Settlement Laws and Labour Mobility? • Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776): • ‘The obstruction which corporation laws give to the free circulation of labour is common, I believe to every part of Europe. That which is given to it by the poor laws is, so far as I know, peculiar to England. …The difficulty of obtaining settlements obstructs even [the mobility of] common labour.’ (Book I, ch.X).

  22. Settlement Laws and the endemic mobility of young adults in practice • 60-90% marriages in parish registers 1600-1800 show at least one partner not born in the parish • Portable certificates • Non-resident relief agreements between parishes (circumventions of the Settlement Laws) by late 18th century • i) J.S. Taylor, Sojourners’ Narratives (1989): 1,300 surviving letters from Kirby Lonsdale 1809-36 demonstrate an informal system in operation throughout West Yorks & Lancashire; ii) T.Sokoll Essex Pauper Letters 1731-1837(2001) demonstrates similar practices in London/Essex

  23. Development Policy Options for Africa & India Suggested by English Poor Law History • Investment in social security/welfare systems is not just ‘humanitarian assistance’ but foundational market institution: for a population of mobile, empowered agents, with respect to labour, land and capital • Local administrative responsibility can be highly effective, but only if independently monitored withcheap access to impartial justice for grievances of the poor, against corruption and exploitation • Systems of social security entail resource transfers from rich to poor. For political legitimacy they depend on designing systems to prevent evasion of responsibilities by rich and to define agreed limits of liability to entitled claimants, Both require effective (and trustworthy) identity registration system • All this takes time and policy commitment over the long-term of 2-3 generations, not 2-3 years.

  24. Tudor History to 21st Century Development Policy in India • Nandan Nilekani Imagining India (2008), p.350: "Unique identification for each citizen also ensures a basic right -the right to "an acknowledged existence" in the country, without which much of a nation's poor can be nameless and ignored, and governments can draw a veil over large-scale poverty and destitution. … No one else can then claim a benefit that is rightfully yours, and no one can deny their economic status, whether abjectly poor or extremely wealthy " • [Citing Szreter historical article on 16th-18th century England published in World Development Jan 2007'The right of registration: development, identity registration and social security - an historical perspective‘ • President of India, Pratibha Patil’s address to the newly-elected 15th Lok Sabha (Indian Parliament) in New Delhi June 4th 2009, paragraph 13: • ‘The Unique Identity Card scheme for each citizen will be implemented in three years overseen by an Empowered Group. This would serve the purpose of identification for development programmes and security.’ • Biometric registration system currently being implemented across all-India by the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), Chairman Nandan Nilikani.

  25. ‘What Have Henry VIII and Elizabeth I got to do with 21st-century development policy?‘ History and Policy Public Lecture at Gresham College 18 June 2013 Simon Szreter Professor of History and Public Policy U. Of Cambridge.