Internal Conflict and State Development: Evidence from Imperial China

46 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2018 Last revised: 26 Aug 2021

See all articles by Mark Dincecco

Mark Dincecco

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Yuhua Wang

Department of Government, Harvard University

Date Written: August 25, 2021

Abstract

We analyze the conditions under which internal conflict can promote or impede state development. Our study exploits original fine-grained data spanning more than half a millennium across imperial China. We find that, traditionally, the central state improved its monopoly over violence in response to mass rebellion. The mid-nineteenth century marked the start of a new geopolitical era in China, compelling the central state to levy a higher tribute on local elites in order to undertake new investments in military defense. In turn, we find evidence for a shift in security leadership toward local elites in response to mass rebellion, reducing the central state's monopoly over violence. Our analysis implies that the relationship between internal conflict and state development depends on the specific geopolitical context.

Keywords: Monopoly over Violence, State Capacity, Elite Action, Kin Networks

JEL Classification: N45, P48, H10

Suggested Citation

Dincecco, Mark and Wang, Yuhua, Internal Conflict and State Development: Evidence from Imperial China (August 25, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3209556 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3209556

Mark Dincecco (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/umich.edu/dincecco

Yuhua Wang

Department of Government, Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/yuhuawang/home

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