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State Capacity, Conflict and Development

  • Besley, Timothy J.
  • Persson, Torsten

We report on an on-going project, which asks a number of questions relevant to the study of state capacity. What are the main economic and political determinants of the state’s capacity to raise revenue and support private markets? How do risks of violent conflict affect the incentives to invest in state building? Does it matter whether conflicts are external or internal to the state? When are large states associated with higher income levels and growth rates than small states? What relations should we expect between resource rents, civil wars and economic development? The paper is organized into three main sections: 1. The origins of state capacity, 2. Sate capacity and the genius of taxation, and 3. State capacity and the strategy of conflict. Each of these begins with a specific motivation. A simple model is formulated to analyze the determinants of state capacity in the first section, and modified to address the new issues that arise in subsequent sections. The theoretical results are summarized in a number of propositions. We discuss the implications of the theory, comment on its relation to existing literature, and briefly mention some empiric applications.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7336.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7336
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  1. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
  3. 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.
  4. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Why Not a Political Coase Theorem? Social Conflict, Commitment and Politics," NBER Working Papers 9377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daron Agemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2006. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 54, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  6. Svensson, Jakob, 1998. "Investment, property rights and political instability: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1317-1341, July.
  7. repec:oup:restud:v:59:y:1992:i:4:p:645-61 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2007. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," NBER Working Papers 13028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-80, January.
  10. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
  11. 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.
  12. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-78, June.
  13. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
  14. 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.
  15. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  16. 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.
  17. King, Robert G. & Levine, Ross, 1993. "Finance and growth : Schumpeter might be right," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1083, The World Bank.
  18. Marco Pagano & Paolo Volpin, 1999. "The Political Economy of Corporate Governance," CSEF Working Papers 29, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Jul 2005.
  19. Roland Benabou, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:1:p:83-116 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "Repression or Civil War?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 292-97, May.
  22. repec:oup:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:3:p:717-37 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. 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.
  24. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:3:p:717-37 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Working Papers 114, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "Modeling Inefficient Institutions," NBER Working Papers 11940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:1:p:83-116 is not listed on IDEAS
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