A General Theory of Power Concentration: Demographic Influences on Political Organization
98 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2016 Last revised: 10 Jun 2016
Date Written: April 1, 2016
Why is the exercise of political power highly concentrated in some polities and widely dispersed in others? We argue that one persistent causal factor is demographic. Populous polities are characterized by more concentrated structures of authority. To explain this relationship we invoke two mechanisms: efficiency and trust. The theory is demonstrated with a wide variety of empirical measures and in two settings: (1) cross-country analyses including most sovereign states and extending back to the 19th century and (2) within-country analyses focused on states, counties, and localities in the United States.
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