Bourbon Reforms and State Capacity in the Spanish Empire

Posted: 30 Mar 2024

See all articles by Giorgio Chiovelli

Giorgio Chiovelli

Universidad de Montevideo

Leopoldo Fergusson

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Luis R. Martinez

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Juan David Torres

Stanford University

Felipe Valencia Caicedo

Vancouver School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 28, 2024

Abstract

We study the fiscal and political consequences of state modernization in the Spanish colonial empire in Latin America. We focus on the introduction of a new corps of provincial governors called intendants in the late 18th century. Leveraging the staggered adoption of the reform and administrative fiscal microdata, we show that the intendancy system sizably increased Crown revenue by strengthening state presence in the periphery and disrupting local elite capture. Politically, the reform reduced rebellions by previously exploited indigenous peoples. However, naming patterns reveal that the intendants heightened anti-Spanish sentiment among Creole elites, plausibly contributing to the nascent independence movement.

Keywords: State Capacity, Taxation, Bureaucracy, Conflict, Elites, Colonialism, Independence, Latin America

JEL Classification: D73, D74, H71, N46, P48

Suggested Citation

Chiovelli, Giorgio and Fergusson, Leopoldo and Martinez, Luis and Torres, Juan David and Valencia Caicedo, Felipe, Bourbon Reforms and State Capacity in the Spanish Empire (March 28, 2024). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2024-36, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4776346

Giorgio Chiovelli

Universidad de Montevideo ( email )

Prudencio de pena 2544
Montevideo, Montevideo 11600
Uruguay
27074461 (Phone)

Leopoldo Fergusson

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia ( email )

Carrera Primera # 18A-12
Bogota, DC D.C. 110311
Colombia

Luis Martinez (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Juan David Torres

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Felipe Valencia Caicedo

Vancouver School of Economics ( email )

997-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://https://economics.ubc.ca/faculty-and-staff/felipe-valencia-caicedo/

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