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State Capacity, Conflict and Development

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  • Timothy Besley
  • Torsten Persson

Abstract

We report on an on-going project, which asks a number of questions relevant to thestudy of state capacity. What are the main economic and political determinants ofthe state's capacity to raise revenue and support private markets? How do risks ofviolent conflict affect the incentives to invest in state building? Does it matterwhether conflicts are external or internal to the state? When are large statesassociated with higher income levels and growth rates than small states? Whatrelations should we expect between resource rents, civil wars and economicdevelopment? The paper is organized into three main sections: 1. The origins of statecapacity, 2. Sate capacity and the genius of taxation, and 3. State capacity and thestrategy of conflict. Each of these begins with a specific motivation. A simple modelis formulated to analyze the determinants of state capacity in the first section, andmodified to address the new issues that arise in subsequent sections. The theoreticalresults are summarized in a number of propositions. We discuss the implications ofthe theory, comment on its relation to existing literature, and briefly mention someempiric applications.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series with number 010.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:010

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Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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Keywords: state capacity; development;

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  1. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  2. 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.
  3. Nicholas Sambanis, 2002. "A Review of Recent Advances and Future Directions in the Quantitative Literature on Civil War," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 215-243.
  4. 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.
  5. Marco Pagano & Paolo F. Volpin, 2005. "The Political Economy of Corporate Governance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1005-1030, September.
  6. Timothy J. Besley & Torsten Persson, 2008. "The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2007. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," Working Papers 0705, CREI Università degli Studi Roma Tre, revised 2007.
  9. Svensson, Jakob, 1998. "Investment, property rights and political instability: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1317-1341, July.
  10. Roland Bénabou, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 11-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Sala-I-Martin, X. & Barro, R.J., 1991. "Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth," Papers 640, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  12. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-80, January.
  13. Acemoglu, Daron, 2003. "Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 620-652, December.
  14. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
  15. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Politics and Economics in Weak and Strong States," NBER Working Papers 11275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Persson, T. & Roland, G. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Papers 633, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  17. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  18. Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth," Scholarly Articles 3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  19. 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.
  20. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2009. "Civil War," NBER Working Papers 14801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "Repression or Civil War?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 292-97, May.
  22. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "Modeling Inefficient Institutions," NBER Working Papers 11940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
  24. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2008. "Wars and State Capacity," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 522-530, 04-05.
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