In order to argue that this does not explain my results I construct artificial

In order to argue that this does not explain my

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which the gains from trade were high. In order to argue that this does not explain my results, I construct artificial societies and present narrative evidence on the histories of the most influential observations in the data. By adding similar controls, I am able to show that two other stories – dense population in diverse regions and defense of “is- lands” of land quality – do not explain away the relationship between trade and states. Fifth, I show that the diversity of grains available for cultivation do not explain away the main results. Sixth, while diverse areas are more ethnically fractionalized, ecology directly impacts states even when this is included in the sample of artificial countries. I test for several mechanisms by which trade may have facilitated state centralization, and find that class stratification is the channel best supported by the data. No one type of trade is shown to be more important than others. The Ricardian view is only one of many theories of the long-run geographic origins of strong states. It is not my aim, however, to test the Ricardian view against these except insofar as they may also explain the observed link between states and ecological di- versity. Diamond (1997) argues that Eurasian endowments of domesticable plants and animals, combined with an East-West orientation that facilitated their diffusion, gave that landmass an early advantage over the Americas and Africa. Jones (2003) makes an argument for Europe that is remarkably similar to the Ricardian view, stating that: In Europe’s case, the most relevant aspect of the resource endowment was probably the way it was dispersed across a geologically and climatically varied continent, since this provided an inducement to trade (p. xxxii). Specifically, he suggests that the gains from bulk, low value trade encouraged rulers to gain their revenues through taxation of protected trade, rather than the arbitrary confis- cations that would be possible with trade in luxuries (p. 89). Olson (1993), by contrast, suggests that above the level of hunter-gatherers, most societies have some vestige of a state because it is in the interests of “roving” bandits to establish themselves as ruling “stationary” bandits and encourage economic activity that they can tax. In this light, my study highlights a geographic condition that makes this possible through trade. States are only one of many imperfect ways to govern the market (Dixit, 2004), and this study then draws attention to one condition under which they emerge. There are also reasons why we might expect ecological homogeneity to facilitate trade and states. Societies that can only produce a narrow range of goods may be compelled to trade. Moav and Mayshar (2011) suggest that the homogeneity of ancient Egypt benefitted that state’s centralization, compared with Israel and Babylon. Because all farmers depended on the Nile flood, which could be easily monitored, the state was uniquely able to tax them effectively.
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  • Spring '17
  • JAMES FENSKE

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