Can anarchy be efficient? This paper argues that for reasons of efficiency, rational, wealth-maximizing agents may actually choose statelessness over government in some cases. Where markets are sufficiently thin or where government is prohibitively costly, anarchy is the efficient mode of social organization. If total social wealth under conditions of relatively lower levels of trade is not substantially smaller than it is under conditions of relatively higher levels of trade, the cost of government may exceed the social benefits it provides. Likewise, if the cost of a state is sufficiently large, even substantial differences in social wealth under these two scenarios may prove too small to justify the formation of government from a cost-benefit perspective. The framework I provide explains the persistence of anarchy in two major areas where we tend to observe it: among primitive societies and at the global level. (JEL P48) Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007
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.
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.:
- Mattli, Walter, 2001. "Private Justice in a Global Economy: From Litigation to Arbitration," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(04), pages 919-947, September.
- Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999.
"Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions,"
4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
- Benson, B., 1997.
"To Arbitrate or to Litigate: That is the Question,"
1997_04_02, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
- R. Hirschowitz, 1989. "The Other Path: The Invisible Revolution in the Third World," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 57(4), pages 266-272, December.
- Alesina, Alberto F & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2000.
"Who Trusts Others?,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2646, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Benson, Bruce L, 1999. " An Economic Theory of the Evolution of Governance and the Emergence of the State," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 131-60, November.
- Casella, Alessandra, 1996. "On market integration and the development of institutions: The case of international commercial arbitration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 155-186, January.
- Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
- Oliver Volckart & Antje Mangels, 1999. "Are the Roots of the Modern Lex Mercatoria Really Medieval?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 427-450, January.
- Avinash Dixit, 2003. "Trade Expansion and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1293-1317, December.
- 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.
- Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
- Leeson, Peter T., 2005. "Endogenizing fractionalization," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 75-98, June.
- Zerbe, Richard O. & Anderson, C. Leigh, 2001. "Culture And Fairness In The Development Of Institutions In The California Gold Fields," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(01), pages 114-143, March.
- Peter T. Leeson, 2006. "Self-Enforcing Arrangements and Heterogeneous Groups," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 891-907, October.
- Robert Bates & Avner Greif & Smita Singh, 2002. "Organizing Violence," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 46(5), pages 599-628, October.
- Peter T. Leeson, 2007. "Trading with Bandits," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 303-321.
- Avner Greif, 2002. "Institutions and Impersonal Exchange: From Communal to Individual Responsibility," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(1), pages 168-, March.
- Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 857-882, December.
- Clay, Karen, 1997. "Trade without Law: Private-Order Institutions in Mexican California," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 202-31, April.
- DANIEL B. KLElN, 1992. "Promise Keeping In The Great Society: A Model Of Credit Information Sharing," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 117-136, 07.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:130:y:2007:i:1:p:41-53. 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: (Guenther Eichhorn)or (Christopher F. Baum)
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.