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The Geographical Origins of Early State Formation

Anastasia Litina ()

DEM Discussion Paper Series from Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg

Abstract: This research theoretically and empirically advances the hypothesis that in early stages of development, land and climatic variability had a persistent beneficial effect on the advent of early statehood. A high degree of land and climatic diversity, and its association with potential gains from trade, accentuated the incentives to develop social, political and physical infrastructure that could facilitate interregional interaction. Hence, the emergence of states was expedited in more diverse geographical environments. To explore the hypotheses the analysis exploits exogenous sources of variation in a) the measure of land variability across countries, and b) climatic variability within countries over the period 500-1500 CE. The research establishes that i) the advent of statehood was expedited in regions characterized by a higher degree of variability in land and climatic conditions, ii) the effect of (land and climatic) variability on statehood operates partly through the advancement of technologies associated with trade, thus suggesting that it is the pivotal role of states in facilitating trade that ultimately contributed to their emergence and consolidation, and, iii) the effect of land variability on statehood dissipates over time,

Keywords: State Formation; Climatic Variability; Land suitability for agriculture (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N70 O50 O57 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-evo and nep-his
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:luc:wpaper:14-28

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