Collective action theorists propose that bargain-making between state authorities and non-ruling groups (especially taxpayers) is a key social process in state formation (e.g., Bates and Lien 1985: 53; Levi 1988: 11-12, 52-68), and that bargaining outcomes will reflect the comparative resource endowments of the bargainers (Levi 1988: 112-12). Since the major resource endowment possessed by taxpayers is their labor and their ability to produce surpluses that can be taxed, they will be in a weakened bargaining position vis-à-vis rulers when a substantial portion of a state’s revenues are derived primarily from sources other than a broad population of taxpayers, or when substantial revenues can be gained from a narrow, wealthy, constituency (“external revenues” in our terminology). In these circumstances, revenues originate from specific, highly productive point sources, allowing tax administration to be carried out by a comparatively small, and, presumably, highly motivated work force and administrative staff rewarded with high social standing and a share of the state’s wealth. This would apply when foreign trade can be taxed or controlled at one or a few easily-controlled trade ports, or when the state maintains a monopoly control of valuable assets such as mines. Similarly, taxpayer bargaining power is weaker to the degree that rulers directly control significant amounts of land and labor, another category of external revenues in the coding scheme we describe below. Producers in these situations, usually consisting of slaves, war captives, or landless tenants working state land, are less likely than ordinary taxpayers to make demands on rulers.
KeywordsCattle Herd Internal Revenue Revenue Source State Revenue Revenue System
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