IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Building Fiscal Capacity in Colonial Mexico: From Fragmentation to Centralization


  • Arias, Luz Marina


The success of fiscal centralization and military buildup in colonial Mexico contrasts with failed similar attempts elsewhere. Why did powerful elites comply with fiscal-military reforms in eighteenth-century Mexico? I argue that the Seven Years' War provided incentives for the Crown to centralize and elites to comply by accentuating the free rider problems inherent in the provision of military defense under fiscal fragmentation. Fiscal data and history document that reforms were more successful in regions more militarily vulnerable and where benefits were more aligned between the elites and the Crown. Centralization served the elites to commit to collective cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Arias, Luz Marina, 2013. "Building Fiscal Capacity in Colonial Mexico: From Fragmentation to Centralization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 662-693, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:73:y:2013:i:03:p:662-693_00

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no


    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economic History > Regional Economic History > Latin American Economic History > Economic History of Mexico


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Libman, A., 2020. "Decentralization of crisis, weakness and responsibility," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 181-187.
    2. Koyama, Mark & Moriguchi, Chiaki & Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2018. "Geopolitics and Asia’s little divergence: State building in China and Japan after 1850," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 155(C), pages 178-204.
    3. De Magalhaes, Leandro & Giovannoni, Francesco, 2022. "War and the rise of parliaments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 148(C).
    4. Hector Galindo‐Silva, 2020. "External threats, political turnover, and fiscal capacity," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(3), pages 430-462, November.
    5. Javier L. Arnaut, 2017. "Was Colonialism Fiscally Sustainable? An Empirical Examination of the Colonial Finances of Spanish America," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1703, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.
    6. Artem Kochnev, 2021. "Marching to Good Laws: The Impact of War, Politics, and International Credit on Reforms in Ukraine," wiiw Working Papers 192, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    7. Rok Spruk & Mitja Kovac, 2020. "Persistent Effects of Colonial Institutions on Long‐Run Development: Local Evidence from Regression Discontinuity Design in Argentina," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 17(4), pages 820-861, December.
    8. Alexander F. McQuoid & Yi Ding & Cem Karayalcin, 2017. "Fiscal Federalism, Fiscal Reform, and Economic Growth in China," Departmental Working Papers 57, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:73:y:2013:i:03:p:662-693_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Kirk Stebbing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.