*The Once and Future King* by F.H. Buckley

Frank Buckley was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book, The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America, and now seems like an appropriate time to post my review. Buckley argues persuasively -- and surprisingly -- that the Founders intended to establish a semi-parliamentary form of government … Continue reading *The Once and Future King* by F.H. Buckley

“Fiscal Federalism, Jurisdictional Competition, and the Size of Government”

This paper of mine is now available online in Constitutional Political Economy. It empirically investigates competing theories of how fiscal federalism constrains government. The main conclusion is that different federal systems conform roughly to different theoretical models, with the U.S. - a bit surprisingly - coming closest to "market-preserving federalism." Some of the early findings … Continue reading “Fiscal Federalism, Jurisdictional Competition, and the Size of Government”

The Difference Between Governments and States

"The state," wrote sociologist Max Weber, "is a relation of men dominating men." I agree. Furthermore, no human being should dominate another human being. Therefore, the state should not exist. But I'm not an anarchist. How can that be? We have to distinguish between "governments" and "states." Anarchy is the absence of formal government, and … Continue reading The Difference Between Governments and States

More Evidence on Law of Political Entropy

"Why did the autonomous city-state die?" asks political-economic historian David Stasavage in a new American Political Science Review article. He finds that new autonomous city-states enjoyed higher population growth rates than nonautonomous city-states, up to 108 years. After that point, their population growth was lower than that of nonautonomous city-states. His argument is that the … Continue reading More Evidence on Law of Political Entropy

A Law of Political Entropy?

Libertarians often bemoan the expansion of the federal government over the centuries and cite Thomas Jefferson's quotation, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild [sic], and government to gain ground." Of course, there have been important advances for liberty in the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries too, yet overall, government's … Continue reading A Law of Political Entropy?

Why So Little Decentralization? Part Two: Secession Prevention

Having finally turned the corner on a brutal, 11-day (and counting) cold, I feel up to getting back to my blogging routine. First up: a followup to last month's post, "Why So Little Decentralization?" To review, that post posed a puzzle (a problem for political scientists to ponder, you might say). The puzzle is this: … Continue reading Why So Little Decentralization? Part Two: Secession Prevention

Why So Little Decentralization?

Some of these developing countries are both huge and ethnically and regionally diverse, India and Indonesia most notably. One might think that these governments would have even more reason to decentralize than would the governments of comparatively homogeneous Western democracies. Therefore, the relative lack of decentralization in developing countries remains a puzzle.