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Lending to the Borrower from HellDebt, Taxes, and Default in the Age of Philip II$
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Mauricio Drelichman and Hans-Joachim Voth

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151496

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151496.001.0001

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Tax, Empire, and the Logic of Spanish Decline

Tax, Empire, and the Logic of Spanish Decline

(p.243) Chapter 8 Tax, Empire, and the Logic of Spanish Decline
Lending to the Borrower from Hell

Mauricio Drelichman

Hans-Joachim Voth

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the impact of debt leveraging on the long-run development of Castile. Compared to the other great European powers after 1500, Spain's fiscal policy showed no signs of imperial overstretch. Its finances were no worse—and better in a variety of ways—than those of other countries at the height of their power. According to several criteria, Castilian finances were managed with greater probity than even those of Britain, with primary surpluses being maintained during wartime and rapid improvements in the budget position when debts accumulated. There is also no evidence of the supposedly deleterious effects of serial default; after each payment stop, the Crown's revenues increased, suggesting no decline in fiscal capacity.

Keywords:   Castile, Spainish fiscal policy, Castilian finances, surpluses, default, fiscal capacity

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