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State capacity, reciprocity and the social contract

Besley, Timothy (2020) State capacity, reciprocity and the social contract. Econometrica, 88 (4). 1307 - 1335. ISSN 0012-9682

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Identification Number: 10.3982/ECTA16863


This paper explores the role of civic culture in expanding fiscal capacity by developing a model based on reciprocal obligations: citizens pay their taxes and the state provides public goods. Civic culture evolves over time according to the relative payoff of civic‐minded and materialist citizens. A strong civic culture manifests itself as high tax revenues sustained by high levels of voluntary tax compliance and provision of public goods. This captures the idea of government as a reciprocal social contract between the state and its citizens. The paper highlights the role of political institutions and common interests in the emergence of civic culture.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Econometric Society
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2019 17:24
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2024 06:24

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