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What Do States Do? Politics and Economic History

Hoffman, Philip T. (2015) What Do States Do? Politics and Economic History. Journal of Economic History, 75 (2). pp. 303-332. ISSN 0022-0507.

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Although politics has a huge effect on economic outcomes, we still know too little about what public goods states furnish or what determines the laws, regulations, and policies that states adopt. Worse yet, we do not really understand how states arise in the first place and how they gain the ability to tax. There are numerous unanswered questions here that economic historians can profitably work on, and their research will be particularly valuable if they model the politics, gather data on taxation and spending by local and central governments, and pay serious attention to the historical details and to political behavior that may not involve optimization.

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Additional Information:© 2015 Economic History Association. The author would like to thank the editors, Jonathan Chapman, Tracy Dennison, Rod Kiewiet, Morgan Kousser, Ed McCaffery, Kate Norberg, Gilles Postel-Vinay, and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal for suggestions and criticisms. The author also benefitted from the advice generously given by the late Ross Thompson. Research for this project was supported by NSF grant SES-1227237.
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Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150710-102526238
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Official Citation:Philip T. Hoffman (2015). What Do States Do? Politics and Economic History. The Journal of Economic History, 75, pp 303-332. doi:10.1017/S0022050715000637.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:58844
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:10 Jul 2015 17:52
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 08:40

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