Going Postal: State Capacity and Violent Dispute Resolution

34 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2019

See all articles by Jeffrey L. Jensen

Jeffrey L. Jensen

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi

Adam Ramey

New York University Abu Dhabi

Date Written: March 13, 2019

Abstract

Scholars have long tried to understand the conditions under which actors choose to use violent versus non-violent means to settle disputes, and many argue that violence is more likely in weakly-institutionalized settings. Yet, there is little evidence showing that increases in state capacity lowers the use of violent informal institutions to resolve disputes. Utilizing a novel dataset of violence --- specifically, duels --- across American states in the 19th Century, we use the spread of federal post offices as an identification strategy to investigate the importance of state capacity for the incidence of violent dispute resolution. We find that post office density is a strong, consistent, and negative predictor of dueling behavior. Our evidence contributes to a burgeoning literature on the importance of state capacity for development outcomes.

Keywords: Violence, Dueling, Political Economy, American Political Development

JEL Classification: K42, N31, O17

Suggested Citation

Jensen, Jeffrey and Ramey, Adam, Going Postal: State Capacity and Violent Dispute Resolution (March 13, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3344347 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3344347

Jeffrey Jensen

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Adam Ramey (Contact Author)

New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
112
rank
239,668
Abstract Views
761
PlumX Metrics