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Fiscal Capacity and Dualism in Colonial States : The French Empire 1830-1962


  • Denis Cogneau

    (IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

  • Yannick Dupraz

    (University of Warwick [Coventry])

  • Sandrine Mesplé-Somps

    (DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme, PSL - Paris Sciences et Lettres, IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)


A novel data collection provides comparative evidence on the colonial states of the "second" French colonial empire, from their foundation to their devolution in the 1960s. Colonial states were neither omnipotent Leviathans nor casual night watchmen. On the one hand, we emphasize the extractive efficiency and capacity of adaptation of colonial states to different socioeconomic contexts and varying historical conditions. On the other hand, we put forward dualism as their main common feature and legacy. Colonial public expenditure was biased towards the needs of French settlers and capitalists. It was also costly, as high wages had to be paid to expatriated civil servants.

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  • Denis Cogneau & Yannick Dupraz & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, 2018. "Fiscal Capacity and Dualism in Colonial States : The French Empire 1830-1962," PSE Working Papers halshs-01818700, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-01818700
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2014. "Why Do Developing Countries Tax So Little?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 99-120, Fall.
    2. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521868273.
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