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Risk, Transaction Costs, and Tax Assignment: Government Finance in the Ottoman Empire

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  • COSGEL, METIN M.
  • MICELI, THOMAS J.

Abstract

Risk and transaction costs often provide competing explanations of institutional outcomes. In this paper we argue that they offer opposing predictions regarding the assignment of fixed and variable taxes in a multi-tiered governmental structure. While the central government can pool regional risks from variable taxes, local governments can measure variable tax bases more accurately. Evidence on tax assignment from the mid-sixteenth century Ottoman Empire supports the transaction cost explanation, suggesting that risk matters less because insurance can be obtained in a variety of ways.
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Suggested Citation

  • Cosgel, Metin M. & Miceli, Thomas J., 2005. "Risk, Transaction Costs, and Tax Assignment: Government Finance in the Ottoman Empire," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(03), pages 806-821, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:65:y:2005:i:03:p:806-821_00
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    Cited by:

    1. CoĊŸgel, Metin M. & Miceli, Thomas J. & Rubin, Jared, 2012. "The political economy of mass printing: Legitimacy and technological change in the Ottoman Empire," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 357-371.
    2. Mehmet Serkan Tosun & Serdar Yilmaz, 2010. "Centralization, Decentralization And Conflict In The Middle East And North Africa," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 1-14.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries

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