War and state capacity in the long nineteenth century

Agustín Goenaga, Oriol Sabaté Domingo, Jan Teorell

Research output: Working paper/PreprintWorking paper


A great deal of literature has analyzed the relationship between warfare and state capacity in late-modern and contemporary times. While there is a consensus regarding the significant impact of mass warfare on fiscal expansion during the twentieth century, the interplay between warfare and fiscal capacity in the nineteenth century remains disputed. This paper sheds light on this issue by making use of novel datasets of international and civil wars and public finance from 1816 to 1913 in Europe and the Americas. Our results suggest that the type of wars that states fought in the nineteenth century mattered less than their intensity and duration. Public revenues increased in the aftermath of both international and civil wars when they were intensive enough. We argue, however, that overall wars had a weak effect on state-making in the nineteenth century precisely due to their limited intensity and duration compared to the total wars of the twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Political Science, Lund University
Number of pages65
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Paper Series

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science


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