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The Evolution of a NationHow Geography and Law Shaped the American States$
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Daniel Berkowitz and Karen B. Clay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691136042

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691136042.001.0001

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The Mechanism

The Mechanism

Chapter:
(p.92) Chapter 4 The Mechanism
Source:
The Evolution of a Nation
Author(s):

Daniel Berkowitz

Karen B. Clay

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691136042.003.0004

This chapter argues that initial conditions associated with trade and agriculture shaped the occupational distributions of early state elites who, in turn, influenced the subsequent evolution of state political competition. It provides a summary of the relationships among initial conditions, occupational homogeneity of the elite, and state political competition. The chapter thus shows how conditions shaped the early comparative advantage of the state economy and that, moreover, the mix of elite occupations influenced state political competition. When state elites worked largely in the same profession, a single party that reflected the interests of this occupation tended to dominate. When state elites worked in a broader mix of professions, different groups supported different parties, and political competition was stronger from the outset.

Keywords:   initial state conditions, trade, agriculture, occupational distributions, state elites, state political competition, occupational homogeneity, state economy, elite occupations

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