Structural Dependence of the State on Capital

Adam Przeworski, Michael Wallerstein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A central claim of both Marxist and neoclassical political theory is that under capitalism all governments must respect and protect the essential claims of those who own the productive wealth of society. This is the theory of “structural dependence of the state on capital.” Using a formal model, the internal logic and the robustness of the theory is examined. We conclude that in a static sense the theory is false: virtually any distribution of consumption between wage earners and owners of capital is compatible with continual private investment once an appropriate set of taxes and transfers is in place. Yet the state may be structurally dependent in a dynamic sense. Policies that, once in place, redistribute income without reducing investment do reduce investment during the period in which they are anticipated but not yet implemented.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)11-29
    Number of pages19
    JournalAmerican Political Science Review
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Mar 1988

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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