State Capacity and Military Conflict

62 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2011

See all articles by Nicola Gennaioli

Nicola Gennaioli

Bocconi University - Department of Finance; Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research

Hans-Joachim Voth

University of Zurich - UBS International Center of Economics in Society; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: December 2011

Abstract

In 1500, Europe was composed of hundreds of statelets and principalities, with weak central authority, no monopoly over the legitimate use of violence, and multiple, overlapping levels of jurisdiction. By 1800, Europe had consolidated into a handful of powerful, centralized nation states. We build a model that simultaneously explains both the emergence of capable states and growing divergence between European powers. In our model, the impact of war on the European state system depends on: i) the importance of money for determining the war outcome (which stands for the cost of war), and ii) a country's initial level of domestic political fragmentation. We emphasize the role of the 'Military Revolution', which raised the cost of war. Initially, this caused more internally cohesive states to invest more in state capacity, while other (more divided) states rationally dropped out of the competition. This mechanism leads to both increasing divergence between European states, and greater average investments in state building on the continent overall.

Keywords: ethnicity, fragmentation, military conflict, state capacity, taxation, war

JEL Classification: H2, H3, H4, N43

Suggested Citation

Gennaioli, Nicola and Voth, Hans-Joachim, State Capacity and Military Conflict (December 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8699. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1976041

Nicola Gennaioli (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Finance ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milano, MI 20136
Italy

Bocconi University - IGIER - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Hans-Joachim Voth

University of Zurich - UBS International Center of Economics in Society ( email )

Raemistrasse 71
Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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