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Property rights and institutional change during Australia's gold rush

Authors
Journal
Explorations in Economic History
0014-4983
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
29
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0014-4983(92)90011-k
Disciplines
  • Political Science

Abstract

Abstract Major mineral discoveries were made in California (1848), Australia (1851), and Nevada (1859). Different reactions by the U.S. federal government and Victoria's colonial government to the unexpected discoveries present an opportunity to complement previous studies of de novo contracting in the American West with the Victoria government's use of administrative regulations to govern mining. The analysis focuses on the rapid institutional change in Victoria, where the government delegated its rule-making authority to elected mining courts in 1855. Comparison with studies of institutional change in the American West indicates that the evolution of institutions in Victoria generally followed American patterns, yet also accommodated significant differences.

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