How did today's rich states first establish modern fiscal systems? To answer this question, Political Transformations and Public Finances by Mark Dincecco examines the evolution of political regimes and public finances in Europe over the long term. The book argues that the emergence of efficient fiscal institutions was the result of two fundamental political transformations that resolved long-standing problems of fiscal fragmentation and absolutism. States gained tax force through fiscal centralization and restricted ruler power through parliamentary limits, which enabled them to gather large tax revenues and channel funds toward public services with positive ecomic benefits. Using a vel combination of descriptive, case study and statistical methods, the book pursues this argument through a systematic investigation of a new panel database that spans eleven countries and four centuries. The book's findings are significant for our understanding of ecomic history and have important consequences for current policy debates.
Mark Dincecco is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan. His research and teaching interests include political economy, economic and political history, comparative politics, and public finance. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has published in several academic journals.