Reader Bleg: Transaction Costs and the Boundaries of the State
| Peter Klein |
O&M reader VL asks:
I have noticed an interesting link between transaction cost economics and the explanation of the long-term political units size (as Braudel would have said, on “la longue durée”). For example, it is highly probable that classical Greek poleis were being integrated and desintegrated in response to changes in the nature of military and political contracts. I wish to explore that perspective in my own doctoral thesis and I would like to ask for your help. Do you know about any work that examines that matter? I have read books of Coase, Williamson, and North, and further articles of Alchian, Demsetz, and others. But I don’t know of any work treating organization economics from a political anthropological or political historical perspective.
I suggested privately that he look at David Friedman’s 1977 JPE paper and recent work by Alberto Alesina and coauthors, though none of these works from a transaction cost perspective. Can the rest of you offer some suggestions? If not TCE, then how about resource-based, dynamic capabilities, or property-rights perspectives on the boundaries of the polis?