I owe someone a hat tip for this but have no recollection of who sent it.
From the Social Science Research Network:
Taxes, Lawyers, and the Decline of Witch Trials in France
Noel D. Johnson
George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center
George Mason University - Department of Economics
October 21, 2011
GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 11-47
This paper explores the rise of the fiscal state in the early modern period and its impact on legal capacity. To measure legal capacity, we establish that witchcraft trials were more likely to take place where the central state had weak legal institutions. Combining data on the geographic distribution of witchcraft trials with unique panel data on tax receipts across 21 French regions, we nd that the rise of the tax state can account for much of the decline in witch trials during this period. Further historical evidence supports our hypothesis that higher taxes led to better legal institutions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 46
Keywords: Rule of Law, Witchcraft, France, Institutions, Fiscal Capacity, Legal Capacity