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The political economy of imperialism, decolonization, and development


Gartzke, Erik; Rohner, Dominic (2011). The political economy of imperialism, decolonization, and development. British Journal of Political Science, 41(3):525-556.

Abstract

Nations have historically sought power and prosperity through control of physical space. In recent decades, however, this has largely ceased. Most states that could do so appear relucant, while the weak cannot expand. This article presents a theory of imperialism and decolonization that explains both historic cycles of expansion and decline and the collective demise of the urge to colonize. Technological shocks enable expansion, while rising labour costs and the dynamics of military technology gradually dilute imperial advantage. Simultaneously, economic development leads to a secular decline in payoffs for appropriating land, minerals and capital. Once conquest no longer pays great powers, the systemic imperative to integrate production vertically also becomes archaic.

Abstract

Nations have historically sought power and prosperity through control of physical space. In recent decades, however, this has largely ceased. Most states that could do so appear relucant, while the weak cannot expand. This article presents a theory of imperialism and decolonization that explains both historic cycles of expansion and decline and the collective demise of the urge to colonize. Technological shocks enable expansion, while rising labour costs and the dynamics of military technology gradually dilute imperial advantage. Simultaneously, economic development leads to a secular decline in payoffs for appropriating land, minerals and capital. Once conquest no longer pays great powers, the systemic imperative to integrate production vertically also becomes archaic.

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11 citations in Web of Science®
10 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Date:2011
Deposited On:02 Feb 2012 15:22
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:24
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0007-1234 (P) 1469-2112 (E)
Additional Information:Copyright: Cambridge University Press
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123410000232
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:3929

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