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State Capacity, Conflict and Development

  • Timothy Besley
  • Torsten Persson

We report on an on-going project, which asks a number of questions relevant to thestudy of state capacity. What are the main economic and political determinants ofthe state's capacity to raise revenue and support private markets? How do risks ofviolent conflict affect the incentives to invest in state building? Does it matterwhether conflicts are external or internal to the state? When are large statesassociated with higher income levels and growth rates than small states? Whatrelations should we expect between resource rents, civil wars and economicdevelopment? The paper is organized into three main sections: 1. The origins of statecapacity, 2. Sate capacity and the genius of taxation, and 3. State capacity and thestrategy of conflict. Each of these begins with a specific motivation. A simple modelis formulated to analyze the determinants of state capacity in the first section, andmodified to address the new issues that arise in subsequent sections. The theoreticalresults are summarized in a number of propositions. We discuss the implications ofthe theory, comment on its relation to existing literature, and briefly mention someempiric applications.

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Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series with number 010.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:010
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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  1. Benabou, R., 1996. "Inequality and Growth," Working Papers 96-22, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S103-26, October.
  3. Persson, T. & Roland, G. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Papers 633, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron, 2003. "Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 620-652, December.
  5. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 005, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  6. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "Repression or civil war?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33748, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  9. Acemoglu, D. & Ticchi, D. & Vindigni, A., 2006. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," Papers 12-02-2006, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  10. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
  11. Nicholas Sambanis, 2002. "A Review of Recent Advances and Future Directions in the Quantitative Literature on Civil War," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 215-243.
  12. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "Modeling Inefficient Institutions," NBER Working Papers 11940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-80, January.
  14. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  15. Pagano, Marco & Volpin, Paolo, 2001. "The Political Economy of Corporate Governance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2682, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2009. "Civil War," NBER Working Papers 14801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten, 2007. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 6370, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1990. "Public Finance in Models of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2008. "Wars and State Capacity," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 522-530, 04-05.
  21. Svensson, Jakob, 1998. "Investment, property rights and political instability: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1317-1341, July.
  22. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
  23. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  24. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
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