Institutions, Factor Prices, and Taxation: Virtues of Strong States?
Many of the most pernicious economic institutions and policies create entry barriers or manipulate factor prices to transfer resources from entrepreneurs and workers to groups that hold political power. These inefficiencies partly result from the fact that direct and efficient fiscal instruments that can be used for taxation and redistribution of resources are absent. One might then conclude that increasing state capacity and expanding the set of available fiscal instruments should improve the allocation of resources by preventing the use of these inefficient, indirect methods of redistribution. This reasoning ignores the effect of greater state capacity and the change in the set of available fiscal instruments on the political equilibrium, however. Because the availability of more efficient means of taxation increases the potential benefits of controlling state power, it also intensifies costly political conflict aimed at capturing the control of the state. This indirect effect counteracts the benefits from more efficient taxation and may dominate the direct benefits. The paper establishes the possibility that the allocation of resources may deteriorate substantially in response to an autonomous increase in state capacity and the set of fiscal instruments. It also argues that in the British case, which is a key historical example that points to the central role of increased state capacity in economic development, this change was not autonomous; instead, it was an equilibrium response to changes in political institutions that placed better checks on the exercise of power by the executive. This reasoning suggests that the study of the effect of fiscal capacity and the evaluation of policies aimed at increasing state capacity in less-developed economies should be done in the context of dynamic models of political economy, in which fiscal capacity and political constraints are jointly determined.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
If 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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aer/|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:||Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html|
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten, 2009.
"State Capacity, Conflict and Development,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
7336, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "State Capacity, Conflict and Development," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 010, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
- Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2010. "State Capacity, Conflict and Development," Working Papers id:2665, eSocialSciences.
- Timothy J. Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "State Capacity, Conflict and Development," NBER Working Papers 15088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "State capacity, conflict and development," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25426, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1998.
"Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government,"
NBER Working Papers
6789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 144, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Krusell, P. & Rios-Rull, J.V., 1993.
"Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth,"
547, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- Krusell, Per & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 301-29, April.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
- Stephen L. Parente & Edward C. Prescott, 1997.
"Monopoly rights: a barrier to riches,"
236, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- John Douglas Wilson, 1990. "Are Efficiency Improvements In Government Transfer Policies Self-Defeating In Political Equilibrium?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 241-258, November.
- Acemoglu, Daron, 2005.
"Politics and economics in weak and strong states,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
- Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-98, December.
- James A. Robinson & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Political Losers as a Barrier to Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 126-130, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:2:p:115-19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)or (Michael P. Albert)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.