NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

State Capacity, Conflict and Development

Timothy J. Besley, Torsten Persson

NBER Working Paper No. 15088
Issued in June 2009
NBER Program(s):   POL

We report on an on-going project, which asks a number of questions relevant to the study of state capacity. What are the main economic and political determinants of the state’s capacity to raise revenue and support private markets? How do risks of violent conflict affect the incentives to invest in state building? Does it matter whether conflicts are external or internal to the state? When are large states associated with higher income levels and growth rates than small states? What relations should we expect between resource rents, civil wars and economic development? The paper is organized into three main sections: 1. The origins of state capacity, 2. Sate capacity and the genius of taxation, and 3. State capacity and the strategy of conflict. Each of these begins with a specific motivation. A simple model is formulated to analyze the determinants of state capacity in the first section, and modified to address the new issues that arise in subsequent sections. The theoretical results are summarized in a number of propositions. We discuss the implications of the theory, comment on its relation to existing literature, and briefly mention some empiric applications.

download in pdf format
   (328 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (328 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15088

Published: Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2010. "State Capacity, Conflict, and Development," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 1-34, 01. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Besley and Persson w14585 The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence
Besley and Persson w13028 The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics
Acemoglu w11275 Politics and Economics in Weak and Strong States
Blattman and Miguel w14801 Civil War
O'Rourke w8339 Globalization and Inequality: Historical Trends
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us