The PHD project focuses on the macro level of socio-political institutions, and the degree of agency of political rights that have been acquired there. It is well known that in the very long run there is a strong correlation between the quality of political institutions and economic development, but it is still unclear which is causing which. One school argues in the footsteps of Douglass North that constraining the executive via democratic institutions is a pre condition for economic growth; the Glorious Revolution of 1688 is classic example of such a link (North and Weingast 1989; more recently North, Wallis and Weingast 2009) Another, perhaps equally influential tradition, argues that democratisation will induce the state to introduce redistributive policies which may harm economic growth (Acemoglu and Robinson 2006). Lindert (2004) that there is indeed such a link democracy tends to lead to more social transfers but their effects on economic growth are mixed, and social transfers on balance do not lead to a deceleration of growth. There is also no consensus about the question what exactly causes the relationship between GDP per capita and democracy. The most promising contributions however focus on the role played by human capital formation this appears to be the key variable explaining why improvements in institutions are realized (Glaeser et.al. 2004). Glaeser et.al. (2007) have demonstrated that the main causal connection is that high levels of education create a class of people with clear interests in high quality political institutions. Increased education thus leads to democracy and enhances the stability of such institutions. Within the context of this debate, the contribution of this project is first to produce the global datasets that will make it possible to develop a better understanding of the changes since 1850 in the quality of institutions and the degree of agency enjoyed by the people involved. Secondly, we will develop and test new ideas about the links between gender relationships, patterns of household formation and changes in the quality of institutions. The key hypothesis that we will explore is that there are links between the character of institutions at the micro level in particular the family and the household and the capacity of societies to develop democratic institutions. This analysis will be combined with a study of the links between the quality of political institutions and human capital formation.