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The Centralization of African Tribal Societies

Bates, Robert H. (1981) The Centralization of African Tribal Societies. Social Science Working Paper, 400. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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Many arguments have been advanced concerning the economic basis of state formation. This essay summarizes these arguments and tests them — albeit is a highly unsatisfactory way — with data drawn from the sample of African societies archived in the Human Relations Area Files. Many of the arguments are "neo-contractarian"; they emphasize the role of the state in promoting economic efficiency. Others are loosely "neo-Marxist"; they emphasize the role of the state in securing the redistribution of income. Both kinds of arguments find support in the data. The paper therefore concludes by examining the degree to which the element of economic redistribution represents a "reasonable price" for the provision of economic prosperity.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Alternate Title:The Centralization of African Societies
Additional Information:The following people, at one time or another, have commented upon this essay. While I have taken many of their criticisms into account, I am nonetheless conscious that despite these efforts many deficiencies remain. For these I am solely responsible. Lance Davis, Phillip Hoffman, Gary Cox, Elizabeth Colson, Ronald Cohen, Douglass North, George Dalton, William O. Jones, David Laitin, John Ferejohn, Eleanor Sear l e, and Kenneth McCue. I particularly appreciate Kenneth McCue's work on the data analysis and his attempts to elevate it beyond elementary tabular analysis. The expenses of this work were paid in part by Grant No. SOC 77-08573 from the National Science Foundation. Published as Bates, Robert H. "The Centralization of African Tribal Societies" in Bates RH. Essays on the Political Economy of Rural Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1983.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
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Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:400
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171004-155527722
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82092
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:04 Oct 2017 23:55
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:50

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