The fiscal sociology literature views the state at the heart of development, but in most developing countries, formal taxation is limited. Instead, local residents make substantial contributions outside the state to the provision of public goods. That is, they engage in what we call social extraction rather than state taxation. This article conceptualizes social extraction and the social institutions that drive extraction. Furthermore, it considers variations in the content of social institutions, and it proposes research agendas that allow us to understand how social institutions impact resource mobilization and development at the community level. It draws lessons from a large, cross-disciplinary literature that includes work in anthropology, sociology, economics, psychology, and political science.
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