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This paper assesses various issues concerning the operation of the English Old Poor from 1600 to 1834 that are presented as facilitating economic growth. It identifies those factors contributing to the efficacy of welfare provisioning by reference to problems that are frequently identified in the operation of such systems: the free-rider problem, risk covariance, adverse selection and information elicitation. The entitlement to relief through an individual's possession of a legal settlement in a parish thereby guaranteeing poor relief is seen as a key factor enabling risk-reduced labor migration and especially migration from the rural to urban sector, as well as minimization of the free-rider problem as far as tax-payer willingness to furnish welfare funds were concerned.
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