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Pathologies of the state

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  • Besley, Timothy

Abstract

This paper uses a simple dynamic model where a government performs three functions: taxation, public spending and contract enforcement to study pathologies in resource allocation by government. A key feature of the approach is that states may invest in their future capacities to raise taxes and protect property rights. Three types of state are shown to be possible in this framework: common-interest states, redistributive states and weak states whose emergence depends on the nature of political institutions. We consider both Pigouvian and Wicksellian benchmarks against which to compare different outcomes that might arise in political equilibrium. The paper argues for a greater focus on weak government and points out that a failure to generate Wicksellian unanimity lies behind them.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 80 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 339-350

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:80:y:2011:i:2:p:339-350

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Related research

Keywords: Public choice; weak states;

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References

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  1. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
  2. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
  3. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  4. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Why Not a Political Coase Theorem? Social Conflict, Commitment and Politics," NBER Working Papers 9377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1768, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    • La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    • Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," NBER Working Papers 5661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  6. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2007. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," NBER Working Papers 13028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Politics and Economics in Weak and Strong States," NBER Working Papers 11275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "Fragile States and Development Policy," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 022, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  9. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Alexander Radygin & Revold Entov, 2014. "The Fundamental Privatization Theorem: Ideology, Evolution, Practice," Working Papers 0087, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, revised 2014.
  2. Cingolani, Luciana, 2013. "The State of State Capacity: a review of concepts, evidence and measures," MERIT Working Papers 053, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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