State Formation and Frontier Society: An Empirical Examination
34 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 18, 2014
How is state capacity consolidated? While there is a growing literature on state formation and the long-term rise of state capacity, this literature typically deals with differences between countries, neglecting the fact that state formation also occurs differentially within a country over time. This article examines legacies of state formation spatially, by looking at variation within "frontier" states - countries which in recent centuries have extended rule over new territories adjacent to their core regions. Frontier zones within such countries are found to have ongoing lower levels of public order and deficient public goods provision. Several theories are examined to explain this discrepancy, including internal resettlement, costs of monitoring and enforcement, and the relationship between settlers and the indigenous population. It is argued that the formation of strong social institutions among settlers leads to resistance to attempts to impose governance over frontier regions, and to 'select for' lower fiscal capacity and lower provision of public goods.
Keywords: State formation, settlement patterns, historical institutionalism, frontier thesis, public goods, rule of law, governance.
JEL Classification: Z13, N90, R23, H41.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation