On the origin of states: stationary bandits and taxation in eastern Congo

When do states arise? When do they fail to arise?

Abstract

This research was funded under the Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL) Programme

As a foundation for this study, the author organized the collection of village-level panel data on violent actors, managing teams of surveyors, village elders, and households in 380 war-torn areas of DRC. The author introduced optimal taxation theory to the decision of violent actors to establish local monopolies of violence. The value of such decision hinges on their ability to tax the local population.

The findings support the view that the expected revenue from taxation, determined in particular by tax base elasticity, can explain the first stages of state formation.

Citation

Sanchez de la Sierra, R. (2015). On the origin of states: stationary bandits and taxation in Eastern Congo. Available at SSRN 235870

On the origin of states: stationary bandits and taxation in eastern Congo

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