Standard theoretical arguments suggest that republics ought to grow faster than monarchies and experience lower transitional costs following reforms. We employ a panel of 27 countries observed from 1820-2000 to explore whether institutional reforms have differential growth effects in monarchies and republics. A set of Barro-type regressions show that there are no significant growth differences between the two regime types and that the effects of incremental reforms do not differ between them, but that those of large-scale reforms do. Specifically, we find a strong "valley-of-tears" effect of large reforms in republics while monarchies benefit from such reforms in the ten-year perspective adopted here. We offer some tentative thoughts on the underlying mechanisms responsible for the results.