Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State: Lessons from a Comparative Perspective

E.H.P. Frankema, A. Booth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter introduces and motivates the main theme of the book and the key questions related to the development of fiscal capacity in colonial Asia and Africa. We situate the colonial fiscal state in the context of the changing world order in the long century between 1850 and 1960. We discuss the historiography and existing theoretical perspectives on fiscal development, arguing that these remain biased towards the European, or Eurasian experience at best. We also summarize the key insights of all the chapters in light of the general patterns that emerge from the comparative perspective adopted in this book. Finally, we formulate a brief future research agenda which identifies the next steps to be taken to improve our understanding of the various ways in which fiscal states have developed across the globe since the mid-nineteenth century.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, 1850-1960
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in Economic History
EditorsE. Frankema, A. Booth
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781108665001
ISBN (Print)9781108494267
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Colonial state
  • Comparative history
  • Fiscal capacity
  • Fiscal history
  • Fiscal modernization


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