State Capacity and Organizational Learning in Classical Greece
Speaker: Federica Carugati, King’s College London
Date/Time: Wednesday September 14th, 4–6pm
Location: LI 220
Abstract: State capacity is critical for development. But how do states become capacious? The literature defines state capacity in a variety of ways and identifies war and bargains as its primary drivers. In this paper, we borrow from the literature on organizations to explore the role of the state as an epistemic agent and to highlight the importance of learning processes for the development of state capacity. Our focus is on ancient Greece, and particularly on Sparta, Athens, and Macedon. Focusing on three well-documented historical cases allows us to identify the factors that facilitate or prevent learning and how those factors affect state capacity in a comparative perspective. We identify three such factors: the willingness of states to invest in research; the ability to direct resources toward projects; and “tolerance for disruption,” which enables states to incorporate innovation into existing institutional structures.
SSHRC Connections Grant (Morality and Models: Assessing Modern Approaches to the Ancient Economy)