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A Theory of the State: Economic Rights, Legal Rights, and the Scope of the State

Опубликовано на портале: 27-01-2003
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002
This book models the emergence and evolution of the rule-of-law state. The protector or ruler is assumed to be self-seeking. Individuals will install a protector only after they create institutions to control him. Organized protection engenders legal institutions that enforce rights. A "state of nature" then gradually turns into a rule-of-law state. Individuals employ both the state and other third parties for enforcement. The fraction of agreements that the state enforces determines its scope. Rule-of-law states encourage market transactions and standards that facilitate trade. The larger the domain of the state's ultimate enforcer, the greater the advantage of scale economies to contracting. This force may explain the creation of rule-of-law empires.


This book models the emergence and evolution of the rule-of-law state. The protector or ruler is assumed to be self-seeking. Individuals will install a protector only after they create institutions to control him. Organized protection engenders legal institutions that enforce rights. A "state of nature" then gradually turns into a rule-of-law state. Individuals employ both the state and other third parties for enforcement. The fraction of agreements that the state enforces determines its scope. Rule-of-law states encourage market transactions and standards that facilitate trade. The larger the domain of the state's ultimate enforcer, the greater the advantage of scale economies to contracting. This force may explain the creation of rule-of-law empires.
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1. Introduction

Part I. The Emergence of Protection and Third-Party Enforcement:
2. The state and the enforcement of agreements
3. Third-party enforcement and the state
4. The choice among enforcement forms
5. Anonymous exchange, mixed enforcement and vertical integration
6. Jurisdictional issues
7. Collective action and collective decisions

8. Tying the protector's hand: the agreement between subjects and protector

Part II. The Emergence of Legal Institutions:
9. Legal rights
10. The state enhancement of market trade
11. The size and scope of the state

Part III. The Character of the State:
12. Voluntary merger and local autonomy
13. The distinction between "legitimate" and "criminal" states
14. Power, violent conflicts and political evolution
15. The time path of change under dictatorships and under rule of law regimes
16. Epilogue