William & Mary

New Books By Economics Department Faculty


A Tributary Model of State Formation: Ethiopia, 1600-2015 addresses the perplexing question of why a pedigreed Ethiopian state failed to transform itself into a nation-state. Using a comparative-institutionalist framework, this book explores why Ethiopia, an Afroasian civilizational state, has yet to build a modern political order comprising a sturdy state, the rule of law, and accountability to the ruled. The book provides a theoretical framework that contrasts the European and the Afroasian modes of state formation and explores the three major variants of the Ethiopian state since 1600 (Gondar, Shewa, and Revolutionary). It does this by employing the conceptual entry point of tributarism and teases out the implications of this perspective for refashioning the embattled postcolonial African political institutions. The primary contribution of the book is the novel framing of state formation through the lens of a landed Afroasiatic peasantry in giving rise to a fragile state whose redistributive preoccupation preempted the emergence of a productive economy to serve as a buoyant revenue base. Unlike feudal Europe, the dependence of the Afroasian state on arm’s-length overlordship rather than on tightly-managed landlordship incentivized endemic extractive contests among elites with the capacity for violence for the non-fixed tribute from independent wealth producers. Tributarism, I argue here, stymied the transition from a resilient statehood to a robust nation-statehood that befits an open-order society. (Springer, 2018)


Industrial Development in Africa:  Mapping Industrialization Pathways for a Leaping Leopard critically synthesizes and reframes the debates on African industrial development in a capability-opportunity framework. It recasts the challenge in a broader comparative context of successive waves of catchup industrialization experiences in the European periphery, Latin America, and East Asia. Berhanu Abegaz explores the case for resource-based and factor-based industrialization in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa by drawing on insights from the history of industrialization, development economics, political economy, and institutional economics. Unpacking complex and diverse experiences, the chapters look at Africa at several levels: continent-wide, sub-regions on both sides of the Sahara, and present analytical case studies of 12 representative countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire. (Routledge, 2018)


When incentives work well, individuals prosper. When incentives are poor, the pursuit of self-interest is self-defeating. This book is wholly devoted to the topical subject of incentives from individual, collective, and institutional standpoints. This third edition is fully updated and expanded, including a new section on the 2007-08 financial crisis and a new chapter on networks as well as specific applications of school placement for students, search engine ad auctions, pollution permits, and more. Using worked examples and lucid general theory in its analysis, and seasoned with references to current and past events, Incentives: Motivation and the Economics of Information examines: the performance of agents hired to carry out specific tasks, from taxi drivers to CEOs; the performance of institutions, from voting schemes to medical panels deciding who gets kidney transplants; a wide range of market transactions, from auctions to labor markets to the entire economy. Suitable for advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying incentives as part of courses in microeconomics, economic theory, managerial economics, political economy, and related areas of social science. (Cambridge University Press, 2018)