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Transparency, Appropriability and the Early State

CEPR DP No. 8548

57 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2011  

Joram Mayshar

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics

Omer Moav

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Zvika Neeman

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics; Boston University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 12, 2011

Abstract

We propose a general theory that explains the extent of the state and accounts for related institutions as byproducts of the state's extractive technology. We posit further that this extractive technology is determined by the transparency of the production technology. This theory is applied to examine two principal phases in the evolution of the early state. First, we argue that the common explanation of the emergence of the state as a consequence of the availability of food surplus due to the Neolithic Revolution is flawed, since it ignores Malthusian considerations. In contrast, we suggest that what led to the emergence of the state was a transformation of the tax technology that was induced by the greater transparency of the new farming technology. We then apply our theory to explain key institutional features that distinguished ancient Egypt from ancient Mesopotamia, and, in particular, to explain their different land tenure regimes.

Keywords: Transparency, Appropriability, The Early State, Institutions, Land Tenure

JEL Classification: D02, D82, H10, O43

Suggested Citation

Mayshar, Joram and Moav, Omer and Neeman, Zvika, Transparency, Appropriability and the Early State (August 12, 2011). CEPR DP No. 8548. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1920754 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1920754

Joram Mayshar

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 02-5883138 (Phone)
+972 02-5816071 (Fax)

Omer Moav (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/academic/moav

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Zvika Neeman

Tel Aviv University - Eitan Berglas School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 39040
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, 69978
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://www.tau.ac.il/~zvika/

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-3184 (Phone)
617-353-4449 (Fax)

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