A Model of a Predatory State
AbstractWe provide a model of a primitive state whose rulers extort taxes for their own ends. This 'predatory' state can result in lower levels of both output and popular welfare than either organized banditry or anarchy. The predatory state may provide public goods, such as protection or irrigation, and hence may superficially resemble a contractual state. But, the ability to provide such goods can actually reduce popular welfare after allowing for tax changes. We compare the revenues raised by taxation with those from banditry to get an idea when primitive states are likely to emerge. We then consider interactions between bandits and the state. 'Corrupt' side-deals are bad for output and popular welfare, but good for revenue. Even in the absence of such collusion, the existence of a 'mafia' and of the state can be good for each other. Competition between organized crime and the state, however, typically reduces popular welfare and pushes the volume of banditry close to its anarchy level. Finally, we extend the basic model to allow the populace to form expectations of tax set by a long-lived king. Our relatively pessimistic conclusions about predatory states extend to this dynamic setting.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1158.
Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Aug 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (2001), 17(1): 1-33
Note: CFP 1019.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Usher, Dan, 1989.
"The Dynastic Cycle and the Stationary State,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1031-44, December.
- Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
- Grossman, Herschel I, 1994. "Production, Appropriation, and Land Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 705-12, June.
- Furlong, William J., 1987. "A general equilibrium model of crime commission and prevention," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 87-103, October.
- Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
- Grossman, Herschel I., 1995. "Robin hood and the redistribution of property income," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 399-410, September.
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1991. "The Paradox Of Power," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 177-200, November.
- Lane, Frederic C., 1958. "Economic Consequences of Organized Violence," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 401-417, December.
- Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
- Grossman, Herschel I., 2002.
""Make us a king": anarchy, predation, and the state,"
European Journal of Political Economy,
Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 31-46, March.
- Herschel I. Grossman, 1997. ""Make Us a King": Anarchy, Predation, and the State," NBER Working Papers 6289, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Glena Ames).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.