On the Origin of the State: Stationary Bandits and Taxation in Eastern Congo
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 Last revised: 13 Jan 2020
Date Written: January 01, 2020
A positive demand shock for coltan, a mineral whose bulky output cannot be concealed, leads armed actors to create illicit customs and provide protection at coltan mines, where they settle as :stationary bandits." A similar shock for gold, easy to conceal, leads to stationary bandits in the villages where income from gold is spent, where they introduce illicit mining visas, taxes, and administrations. Having a stationary bandit from a militia or the Congolese army increases welfare. These findings suggest that armed actors may create "essential functions of a state" to better expropriate, which, depending on their goals, can increase welfare.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation