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The Fiscal Regime of an Expanding State: Political Economy of Ottoman Taxation

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  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

An expanding state has to decide how to tax the newly conquered lands, most likely taxed under a different regime. It can either preserve the prevailing system of taxation or change it to conform to its own system. The choice depends on the relative efficiency of the two systems, political constraints, and the political legitimacy of the ruler (formulated here as his ability to collect the tax revenue). This paper examines the problem of how an expanding state would establish a fiscal regime by focusing on the tax system of the Ottoman Empire during its expansion between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. After outlining the general structure of the Ottoman system of taxation, it develops a simple theoretical framework to analyze the political economy of an expanding state's choice of a fiscal regime, applies this framework to the Ottoman Empire, and analyzes the interaction between tax rates and bases in a more specific context, namely the system of discriminatory taxation that the Ottomans inherited in the Fertile Crescent.

Suggested Citation

  • Metin M. Cosgel, 2013. "The Fiscal Regime of an Expanding State: Political Economy of Ottoman Taxation," Working papers 2013-28, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2013-28
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    Keywords

    fiscal regime; taxation; conquest; state; political economy; religion; legitimacy; loyalty; constraints; power;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation

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