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Against the Profit Motive
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Series Information
Yale Law Library Series in Legal History

Against the Profit Motive

The Salary Revolution in American Government, 1780-1940

  • Nicholas R. Parrillo
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Reviews

"Economists beware! In this path-breaking book, Nicholas Parrillo revolutionizes our understanding of compensation systems. With gripping historical evidence, he demonstrates the profoundly political and cultural construction of the USís salary system." - Viviana A. Zelizer, author of Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy (Princeton University Press, 2010)

"Against the Profit Motive is more than a prodigiously researched account of public employee compensation in the United States.  It offers a foundational perspective on one of the most challenging dilemmas Americans faced over three centuries:  empowering government officials to act independently on behalf of the public good while ensuring the legitimacy of those actions, even when they met with opposition." - Brian Balogh, author of A Government Out of Sight: The Mystery of National Authority in Nineteenth-Century America (Cambridge University Press)

"Nicholas Parrillo's Against the Profit Motive represents the best in a new generation of source-based, reality-based legal history. †Forgoing yet another discussion of the usual cases and well-worn theory and historiography, Parrillo takes us somewhere new. Through exemplary and tireless research in previously untapped primary sources, Parrillo takes us deep into the inner workings of early American governance and meticulously reconstructs a previously unknown historical world of public-private bounties, fees, rewards, prizes, gifts, profits, and moieties that made that all-important machinery seem to "go of itself." †Together with his Yale colleague Jerry Mashaw, Parrillo is doing nothing less than rewriting the history of the early American state."--William Novak, University of Michigan Law School

“A fascinating and deeply researched book [that] explores what must be among the least examined aspects of American history — the way compensation for public officials has changed over time. Today’s mega-state would never have been possible without the changes in compensation [Parrillo] documents.”—George Leef, Forbes

“This is a remarkable book. Based on prodigious research and artfully reported, Against the Profit Motive recounts an untold story with important implications for political and theoretical issues . . . . An impressive achievement that will make a lasting contribution to our understanding of the development of the modern state.”—Logan Everett Sawyer III, Journal of Economic History

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