EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

State capacity and economic development: Causal mechanism or correlative filter?

Vincent Geloso and Alexander W. Salter

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2020, vol. 170, issue C, 372-385

Abstract: In this paper, we explore why there are no examples of societies with low state capacity and high economic development. We argue that such an outcome is unlikely because of the nature of investments in state capacity. Societies that become rich in the absence of a strong state invite predation by societies that develop such states. Thus societies invest in state capacity, in part, to plunder other societies’ wealth. Those investments are a form of rent-seeking. Potentially preyed-upon societies are forced to invest in state capacity in turn so as to deter potential attackers. This entails that as soon as a rent seeker enters the game, the likelihood of a low-capacity, high-development society surviving falls. This explains the historical lack of such societies. We thus interpret state capacity not as a causal condition for widespread economic prosperity, but a survivability condition for enjoying this prosperity.

Keywords: State capacity; Economic development; Public Goods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B53 D72 L51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268119303981
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:170:y:2020:i:c:p:372-385

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.12.015

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

More articles in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Nithya Sathishkumar ().

 
Page updated 2021-03-28
Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:170:y:2020:i:c:p:372-385