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Ottoman State Finances in European Perspective, 1500–1914

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2010

K. Kivanç Karaman*
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Bogaziçi University, Bebek, Istanbul 34342, Turkey. E-mail:
Şevket Pamuk*
Professor, European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom. E-mail:


The early modern era witnessed the formation across Europe of centralized states that captured increasing shares of resources as taxes. These states not only enjoyed greater capacity to deal with domestic and external challenges, they were also able to shield their economies better against wars. This article examines the Ottoman experience with fiscal centralization using recently compiled evidence from budgets. It shows that due to high shares of intermediaries, Ottoman revenues lagged behind those of other states in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Ottomans responded to military defeats, however, and achieved significant increases in central revenues during the nineteenth century.

Copyright © The Economic History Association 2010

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