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"Make us a king": anarchy, predation, and the state

  • Grossman, Herschel I.

In order to enforce a collective choice to allocate resource to guarding against predators producers must subject themselves to the state's sovereign power to tax and to spend. But these sovereign powers in hand the state can exploit the producers by taxing and spending for its" own purposes. Using a general equilibrium model in which people can choose to be either" producers or predators, this paper rationalizes the biblical request, Make us a king. analysis shows that, if the technology of predation is sufficiently good better for everyone, including both producers and potential predators even though a king maximizes the consumption of a ruling elite.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 18 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 31-46

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:18:y:2002:i:1:p:31-46
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  1. Herschel I. Grossman, 1998. "Producers and Predators," Working Papers 98-6, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Greif, Avner & Milgrom, Paul & Weingast, Barry R, 1994. "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 745-76, August.
  3. Herschel I. Grossman & Suk Jae Noh, 1990. "A Theory Of Kleptocracy With Probabilistic Survival And Reputation," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 157-171, 07.
  4. 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.
  5. Kai Konrad & Stergios Skaperdas, 2012. "The market for protection and the origin of the state," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 417-443, June.
  6. Dowd, Kevin, 1997. "Anarchy, Warfare, and Social Order: Comment on Hirshleifer," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 648-51, June.
  7. Boaz Moselle & Ben Polak, 1997. "A Model of a Predatory State," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 337, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. Usher, D, 1987. "Theft as a Paradigm for Departures from Efficiency," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 235-52, June.
  9. Boaz Moselle & Ben Polak, 1997. "A Model of a Predatory State," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1158, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  10. Grossman, Herschel I. & Noh, Suk Jae, 1994. "Proprietary public finance and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 187-204, February.
  11. Yoram Barzel, 2000. "Property rights and the evolution of the state," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 25-51, 03.
  12. Skogh, Goran & Stuart, Charles, 1982. " A Contractarian Theory of Property Rights and Crime," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 84(1), pages 27-40.
  13. repec:cep:stitep:/1997/337 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Herschel I. Grossman & Minseong Kim, 1997. "Predation, Efficiency, and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 6301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Moselle, Boaz & Polak, Benjamin, 2001. "A Model of a Predatory State," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-33, April.
  16. Dan Usher, 1986. "The Dynastic Cycle and the Stationary State," Working Papers 671, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  17. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
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