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The market for protection and the origin of the state

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  • Konrad, Kai A.
  • Skaperdas, Stergios

Abstract

We examine a stark setting in which security or protection can be provided by self-governing groups or by for-profit entrepreneurs (kings, kleptocrats, or mafia dons). Though selfgovernance is best for the population, it faces problems of long-term viability. Typically, in providing security the equilibrium market structure involves competing lords, a condition that leads to a tragedy of coercion: all the savings from the provision of collective protection are dissipated and welfare can be as low as, or even lower than, in the absence of the state.

Suggested Citation

  • Konrad, Kai A. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2012. "The market for protection and the origin of the state," Munich Reprints in Economics 13961, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:13961
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    Keywords

    property rights; anarchy; government;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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