Rafael ChDuran

PhD Candidate, Department of Politics, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (May 27 - July 26) :

Title: Incomplete State Centralization, Warlord incorporation and Institutional Underdevelopment
The idea that war between states can lead to increased fiscal capacity is a foundational one in the field of political economy. Tilly (1992) famously argued that the national state in early modern Europe emerged in response to the fiscal demands created by expansionary external wars. More recently, Centeno (2003) and Vu (2010) provide historical evidence consistent with this perspective in Latin America and Asia respectively, and Scheve and Stasavage (2012) show that inheritance taxes were systematically higher during periods of mass mobilization for conflict from 1816 to 2000. However, most developing countries did not define their administrative frontiers due to war but inherited the frontiers created by colonial administration after independence-- mixed with internal tensions covered up by weak central structures (Gonzalez 2014). Thus, while in Europe the State was a product of the political triumph of some actors over others and the development of State bureaucracies to finance and recruit permanent standing armies, in most developing countries the State became a political actor that could not defeat regional powers (warlords), and was obliged to coexist, share, and compete for political power; leading to institutional underdevelopment and inefficient concession granted to regional elites. This dissertation project will exploit between and within country variation of non-Western State Centralization and Warlord incorporation to show that central States that cannot overcome peripheral powers rely heavily on political party systems and their local chiefs to unify the territory, creating clientelistic structures and inefficient bureaucratic apparatus. While so far ChDuran has conducted wide research on the State incorporation of warlords in the Americas and Africa, he lacks evidence of such a dynamic in Asia-- particularly the Chinese XXth century incorporation of regional warlords under communist rule. Summer research in Shanghai will provide time and resources to document such process and compare and contrast it to other developing regions.

Last Name
Fellows Type
GRI Fellowship
GRI Fellows semester
Summer 2019