Swords and Plowshares: Property Rights, Collective Action, and Nonstate Governance in the Jewish Community of Palestine 1920–1948

Swords and Plowshares: Property Rights, Collective Action, and Nonstate Governance in the Jewish Community of Palestine 1920–1948

By David Muchlinski, Georgia Institute of Technology

Developing states lacking a monopoly over the use of force are commonly seen as having failed to live up to the ideal Weberian sovereign type. Yet rather than being a calling card of anarchy, the devolution of important state functions to subnational actors is a rational strategy for developing states to effectively provide important public goods. The case study of the Jewish Community of Palestine demonstrates one instance where subnational communities provided public goods. This study highlights the causal effect of property rights within institutions to drive behavior consistent with the provision of public and private goods. Analyzing temporal and institutional variation across two agricultural communities demonstrates a unique strategy of subnational governance and public goods provision in a developing state. Devolution of public goods provision to subnational actors may be an alternative strategy of governance for developing states that are not yet able to effectively provide important public goods.

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