[Vortrag Regensburg] From Ancient Polities to Modern State Capacity in India

14.04.2015 (13:30 - 15:00)

Am Dienstag, 14. April 2015 spricht in der Seminarreihe Ökonomie am Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (IOS) in Regensburg Roberto Foa (Harvard Kennedy School) zum Thema "From Ancient Polities to Modern State Capacity in India". Der Vortrag findet statt im IOS, Landshuter Str. 4, Raum 109.


Why do many countries possess such weak capacity to tax, enforce laws, and provide public goods and services? A range of theories in contemporary political science has attributed the low state capacity of less-developed countries to a legacy of western colonialism (Wallerstein 1974; Herbst 2000; Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson 2002). By contrast, this paper suggests that in order to understand the weakness of many emerging states today, it is necessary to analyse processes of state formation occurring prior to the colonial era. Examining variation in districts of British India - the polity which governed a majority of the subjects of European empires - this study presents a new dataset of precolonial state capacity, and district-level data from both the imperial and post-independence era, to show that state capacity has largely persisted from the early modern era to the present. This reflects the legacy of eighteenth century state formation by showing district-level discontinuities along the borders of precolonial 'challenger states', which engaged in extensive warfare against European colonial powers and one another.