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Unified China And Divided Europe

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  • Chiu Yu Ko
  • Mark Koyama
  • Tuan†Hwee Sng

Abstract

This article studies the causes and consequences of political centralization and fragmentation in China and Europe. We argue that a severe and unidirectional threat of external invasion fostered centralization in China, whereas Europe faced a wider variety of smaller external threats and remained fragmented. Political centralization in China led to lower taxation and hence faster population growth during peacetime compared to Europe. But it also meant that China was more vulnerable to occasional negative population shocks. Our results are consistent with historical evidence of warfare, capital city location, tax levels, and population growth in both China and Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiu Yu Ko & Mark Koyama & Tuan†Hwee Sng, 2018. "Unified China And Divided Europe," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(1), pages 285-327, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:59:y:2018:i:1:p:285-327
    DOI: 10.1111/iere.12270
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    7. Jared Rubin & Debin Ma, 2017. "The Paradox of Power: Understanding Fiscal Capacity in Imperial China and Absolutist Regimes," Working Papers 17-02, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
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    9. Thilo R. Huning & Fabian Wahl, 2016. "You Reap What You Know: Observability of Soil Quality, and Political Fragmentation," Working Papers 0101, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    10. Mitchener, Kris James & Ma, Debin, 2016. "Introduction to the special issue: a new economic history of China," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 69191, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. 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.
    12. Dincecco, Mark & Fenske, James & Menon, Anil, 2020. "The Columbian Exchange and conflict in Asia," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1319, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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    17. Mark Koyama, 2021. "Hilton L. Root: Network Origins of the Global Economy: East vs. West in a Complex Systems Perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 187(3), pages 533-535, June.
    18. Ma, Debin & Rubin, Jared, 2019. "The Paradox of Power: Principal-agent problems and administrative capacity in Imperial China (and other absolutist regimes)," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 277-294.
    19. Huning, Thilo & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2019. "How Britain Unified Germany: Endogenous Trade Costs and the Formation of a Customs Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 13634, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Shuo, Chen & Ma, Debin, 2020. "States and Wars: China’s Long March towards Unity and its Consequences, 221 BC – 1911 AD," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 505, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    21. Sng, Tuan-Hwee & Moriguchi, Chiaki, 2014. "Asia’s Little Divergence: State Capacity in China and Japan before 1850," CEI Working Paper Series 2014-6, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    22. Alexander Salter, 2015. "Sovereignty as exchange of political property rights," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 79-96, October.
    23. Ramos, T.B. & Simionesei, L. & Jauch, E. & Almeida, C. & Neves, R., 2017. "Modelling soil water and maize growth dynamics influenced by shallow groundwater conditions in the Sorraia Valley region, Portugal," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 27-42.
    24. Jordan Adamson, 2021. "The scope of political jurisdictions and violence: theory and evidence from Africa," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 186(3), pages 467-490, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N45 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Asia including Middle East

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