Adam Smith Program
Department of Economics · George Mason University

Mark Koyama (GMU): Magna Carta


Start Time
Saturday, 26 Aug 2023
End Time
Saturday, 26 Aug 2023
Adam Smith Program

Professor Koyama (of GMU Econ) will present research in progress coauthored with Desiree Desierto and Jacob Hall on Magna Carta. The working draft of the paper is online here.

Abstract: Magna Carta, a pivotal moment in the emergence of institutionalised constraints on royal power. We depict it as an optimal agreement between two coalitions capable of violence: the king’s loyal coalition of barons and the rebel barons. This type of agreement is more likely to emerge when the king extracts large rents, when the distribution of rents among barons is egalitarian, and when barons can move large resources away from the king. Under these conditions, even the baron that already enjoys the largest rents would be willing to lead a rebellion, and rebels have large resources that can be used to defeat the loyalists. We test the predictions of our model with a newly collected data on the universe of barons and their lands in England in 1215.