Public Finance During an Era of Economic Decline

  • Carl A. Hanson


From roughly 1670 to 1690, Portugal and its European neighbors experienced a general recession that adversely affected national economies and the collection of government revenues. During these years, price levels for most basic commodities dropped markedly, reaching their nadir in the late 1680s.1 According to Frédéric Mauro, the period was characterized by an insufficiency of precious metals, capital shortages, and limited wars.2 The cyclical nature of such recessions has been closely examined by Gaston Imbert, who discerned the movement of regular, long-term price cycles throughout the early modern era. The movement of one such cycle, as Imbert showed, was clearly downward during the late seventeenth century.3


Precious Metal Seventeenth Century Conspicuous Consumption Revenue Collection Silver Coin 
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© University of Minnesota 1981

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  • Carl A. Hanson

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