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Unified China; Divided Europe

Author

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  • Ko, Chiu Yu
  • Koyama, Mark
  • Sng, Tuan-Hwee

Abstract

This paper studies the causes and consequences of political centralization and fragmentation in China and Europe. We argue that the severe and unidirectional threat of external invasion fostered political centralization in China while Europe faced a wider variety of smaller external threats and remained politically fragmented. We test our hypothesis using data on the frequency of nomadic attacks and the number of regimes in China. Our model allows us to explore the economic consequences of political centralization and fragmentation. Political centralization in China led to lower taxation and hence faster population growth during peacetime than in Europe. But it also meant that China was relatively fragile in the event of an external invasion. Our results are consistent with historical evidence of warfare, capital city location, tax levels, and population growth in both China and Europe.

Suggested Citation

  • Ko, Chiu Yu & Koyama, Mark & Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Unified China; Divided Europe," MPRA Paper 60418, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:60418
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/78735/1/MPRA_paper_78735.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tuan-Hwee Sng & Chiaki Moriguchi, 2014. "Asia’s little divergence: state capacity in China and Japan before 1850," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 439-470, December.
    2. Thilo R. Huning & Fabian Wahl, 2016. "You Reap What You Know: Observability of Soil Quality, and Political Fragmentation," Working Papers 0101, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Qiang Chen, 2014. "Natural Disasters, Ethnic Diversity, and the Size of Nations: Two Thousand Years of Unification and Division in Historical China," SDU Working Papers 2014-01, School of Economics, Shandong University.
    4. KOYAMA, Mark & MORIGUCHI, Chiaki & SNG, Tuan-Hwee, 2017. "Geopolitics and Asia’s Little Divergence: State Building in China and Japan After 1850," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-51, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0464-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bonjean Stanton, Muriel C. & Dessai, Suraje & Paavola, Jouni, 2016. "A systematic review of the impacts of climate variability and change on electricity systems in Europe," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 1148-1159.
    7. Fabio Padovano & Yvon Rocaboy, 2018. "How defense shapes the institutional organization of states," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 175(1), pages 111-134, April.
    8. Ramos, T.B. & Simionesei, L. & Jauch, E. & Almeida, C. & Neves, R., 2017. "Modelling soil water and maize growth dynamics influenced by shallow groundwater conditions in the Sorraia Valley region, Portugal," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 27-42.
    9. Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Size and dynastic decline: The principal-agent problem in late imperial China, 1700–1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 107-127.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; Europe; Great Divergence; Political Fragmentation; Political Centralization;

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N45 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Asia including Middle East

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