The state capacity literature has recently highlighted the variegated experiences of early modern state development, yet the factors which influenced different patterns of development within Asian empires have been less explored. This paper uses a newly digitised database of 10,735 appointments to measure salary payments and the occupational structure of Mughal government officials between 1574-1707. It shows the state was expanding significantly over the period, however the average salaries of officials were declining after the mid-1620s. The findings indicate a localisation and decentralisation of the state structure earlier than previously identified, connecting these patterns to an increase in conflicts in the seventeenth century. The paper compares the Mughal state’s development to the Qing Chinese state, which also experienced a high number of internal conflicts. The comparisons highlight divergences of state development patterns within Asia, and the role administrative intermediaries played in this development.
Safya Morshed is an LSE Fellow in the Department of Economic History at LSE.
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