IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cwl/cwldpp/1158.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Model of a Predatory State

Author

Listed:

Abstract

We provide a model of a primitive state whose rulers extort taxes for their own ends. This 'predatory' state can result in lower levels of both output and popular welfare than either organized banditry or anarchy. The predatory state may provide public goods, such as protection or irrigation, and hence may superficially resemble a contractual state. But, the ability to provide such goods can actually reduce popular welfare after allowing for tax changes. We compare the revenues raised by taxation with those from banditry to get an idea when primitive states are likely to emerge. We then consider interactions between bandits and the state. 'Corrupt' side-deals are bad for output and popular welfare, but good for revenue. Even in the absence of such collusion, the existence of a 'mafia' and of the state can be good for each other. Competition between organized crime and the state, however, typically reduces popular welfare and pushes the volume of banditry close to its anarchy level. Finally, we extend the basic model to allow the populace to form expectations of tax set by a long-lived king. Our relatively pessimistic conclusions about predatory states extend to this dynamic setting.

Suggested Citation

  • Boaz Moselle & Ben Polak, 1997. "A Model of a Predatory State," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1158, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1158
    Note: CFP 1019.
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://cowles.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/pub/d11/d1158.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Grossman, Herschel I, 1994. "Production, Appropriation, and Land Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 705-712, June.
    2. Usher, Dan, 1989. "The Dynastic Cycle and the Stationary State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1031-1044, December.
    3. 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 1275-1288, December.
    4. Lane, Frederic C., 1958. "Economic Consequences of Organized Violence," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(04), pages 401-417, December.
    5. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-921, September.
    6. Garfinkel, Michelle R, 1990. "Arming as a Strategic Investment in a Cooperative Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 50-68, March.
    7. Durham, Yvonne & Hirshleifer, Jack & Smith, Vernon L., 2008. "The Paradox of Power," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    8. Grossman, Herschel I., 1995. "Robin hood and the redistribution of property income," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 399-410, September.
    9. Furlong, William J., 1987. "A general equilibrium model of crime commission and prevention," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 87-103, October.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:03:p:567-576_10 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Grossman, Herschel I., 2002. ""Make us a king": anarchy, predation, and the state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 31-46, March.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1158. 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: (Matthew Regan). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cowleus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.