Abstract: We propose a theory by which geographic attributes explain cross-regional institutional differences in : (1) the scale of the state, (2) the distribution of power within state hierarchy, and (3) property rights over land. The mechanism that underlies our theory concerns the state’s extractive capacity. In particular, we argue that the ability to appropriate revenue from the farming sector is affected by the transparency of farming which, in turn, is affected by geography and technology. We apply the theory to explain the differences between the institutions of Ancient Egypt, Southern Mesopotamia and Northern Mesopotamia
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)