Economic Theory of the State

Itai Sened, Ron Watson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Abstract As a concept, “the economic theory of the state” relates to at least three broad questions. The first concerns the emergence of the state. Historians and economic historians have long tried to unveil the origin of the state. Marxist or neo-Marxist theories of the state, in contrast, ask how the state functions as a tool for the ruling class to protect and to advance its interests. Taking off from the insight that the structure of society affects economic performance, the third question concerns what role the state plays in this structure. We focus on this third question and survey three broad approaches to answering it: the laissez-faire approach, the public goods approach, and the property rights approach.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Political Thought
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781118474396
ISBN (Print)9781118474396
StatePublished - 2014


  • laissez-faire
  • markets
  • property
  • public goods


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