The evolution of the state and taxation: role of agriculture

Richard Grabowski (Department of Economics, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Publication date: 20 September 2011



The purpose of this paper is to analyze those conditions which determine whether the state will be developmental or predatory.


A theoretical model is developed to analyze those factors influencing state policy towards agriculture. Then the historical experiences of China, Japan, and Sub‐Saharan Africa are used to illustrate the workings of the model.


A necessary condition for growth promoting (poverty reducing) policy reforms, with respect to agriculture, is that a technological backlog must exist in agriculture.

Practical implications

International organizations can play an important role in helping to create the necessary condition for effective reform. Significant investment in regional agricultural research institutions must be made so as to create a technological backlog in agriculture.

Social implications

Investment in agricultural research has been declining. Thus, the availability of new technology has lessened. This poses an obstacle to rapid growth and poverty reduction. This paper seeks to refocus the attention of policy makers on agriculture.


This paper develops a theory to explain how and when states in developing countries are likely to become developmental. The ideas are illustrated by the experiences of parts of Asia and Sub‐Saharan Africa. These results will be useful to domestic policy makers in developing countries as well as the policy makers in international organizations.



Grabowski, R. (2011), "The evolution of the state and taxation: role of agriculture", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 188-203.

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