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Revolution and State Structure: The Bureaucratization of Tax Administration in Early Modern England and France

Edgar Kiser and Joshua Kane
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 107, No. 1 (July 2001), pp. 183-223
DOI: 10.1086/323656
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/323656
Page Count: 41
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Revolution and State Structure: The Bureaucratization of Tax Administration in Early Modern England and France
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Abstract

This article explores the relationship between revolution and the bureaucratization of tax administration in early modern England and France. Revolution produces bureaucratization only when the monitoring capacity of states is developed enough to make bureaucratic organization more efficient than alternatives such as tax farming and collection by local notables. As monitoring capacity varies across types of taxes and levels of administration, states also bureaucratize at different paces and are differentially affected by revolution. This explains why the revolutions in England and France had greater effects on indirect taxes than on direct taxes and at top levels of tax administration compared to lower levels. Thus, revolution is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for bureaucratization, but it contributes to the process by sweeping away impediments to reform.

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