The origins of governments

From anarchy to hierarchy

M. Baker, E.H. Bulte, J. Weisdorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

We analyze development trajectories of early civilizations where population size and technology are endogenous, and derive conditions under which such societies optimally ‘switch’ from anarchy to hierarchy – when it is optimal to elect and support a ruler. The ruler provides an efficient level of law and order, but creams off part of society's surplus for his own consumption. Switching to hierarchy occurs if the state of technology exceeds a threshold value, but societies may also be ‘trapped’ at lower levels of technology, perpetuating conditions of anarchy. We present empirical evidence based on the Standard Cross Cultural Sample that support the model's main predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-242
JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Volume6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Fingerprint

Government
Anarchy
Surplus
Prediction
Evidence-based
Civilization
Empirical evidence
Trajectory

Cite this

Baker, M. ; Bulte, E.H. ; Weisdorf, J. / The origins of governments : From anarchy to hierarchy. In: Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics. 2010 ; Vol. 6, No. 2. pp. 215-242.
@article{1be60a517a6e450c9c67b09d0c0eef5a,
title = "The origins of governments: From anarchy to hierarchy",
abstract = "We analyze development trajectories of early civilizations where population size and technology are endogenous, and derive conditions under which such societies optimally ‘switch’ from anarchy to hierarchy – when it is optimal to elect and support a ruler. The ruler provides an efficient level of law and order, but creams off part of society's surplus for his own consumption. Switching to hierarchy occurs if the state of technology exceeds a threshold value, but societies may also be ‘trapped’ at lower levels of technology, perpetuating conditions of anarchy. We present empirical evidence based on the Standard Cross Cultural Sample that support the model's main predictions.",
author = "M. Baker and E.H. Bulte and J. Weisdorf",
year = "2010",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
pages = "215--242",
journal = "Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics",
issn = "0932-4569",
publisher = "JCB Mohr",
number = "2",

}

Baker, M, Bulte, EH & Weisdorf, J 2010, 'The origins of governments: From anarchy to hierarchy', Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 215-242.

The origins of governments : From anarchy to hierarchy. / Baker, M.; Bulte, E.H.; Weisdorf, J.

In: Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2010, p. 215-242.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The origins of governments

T2 - From anarchy to hierarchy

AU - Baker, M.

AU - Bulte, E.H.

AU - Weisdorf, J.

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - We analyze development trajectories of early civilizations where population size and technology are endogenous, and derive conditions under which such societies optimally ‘switch’ from anarchy to hierarchy – when it is optimal to elect and support a ruler. The ruler provides an efficient level of law and order, but creams off part of society's surplus for his own consumption. Switching to hierarchy occurs if the state of technology exceeds a threshold value, but societies may also be ‘trapped’ at lower levels of technology, perpetuating conditions of anarchy. We present empirical evidence based on the Standard Cross Cultural Sample that support the model's main predictions.

AB - We analyze development trajectories of early civilizations where population size and technology are endogenous, and derive conditions under which such societies optimally ‘switch’ from anarchy to hierarchy – when it is optimal to elect and support a ruler. The ruler provides an efficient level of law and order, but creams off part of society's surplus for his own consumption. Switching to hierarchy occurs if the state of technology exceeds a threshold value, but societies may also be ‘trapped’ at lower levels of technology, perpetuating conditions of anarchy. We present empirical evidence based on the Standard Cross Cultural Sample that support the model's main predictions.

M3 - Article

VL - 6

SP - 215

EP - 242

JO - Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics

JF - Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics

SN - 0932-4569

IS - 2

ER -