The State of State Capacity : a review of concepts, evidence and measures

L Cingolani

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This working paper is part of the research programme on 'Institutions, Governance and Long‐term Economic Growth', a partnership between the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance (Maastricht University - UNUMerit). The research builds on the Institutional Profiles Database IPD, jointly developed by AFD and the French Ministry of the Economy since 2001.
What is state capacity and how does it affect development? The concept of state capacity acquired centrality during the late seventies and eighties, sponsored by a rather compact set of scholarly works. It later permeated through several disciplines and has now earned a place within the many governance dimensions affecting economic performance. The present article aims to provide a historical account of the evolution and usage of the state capacity concept, along with its various operationalizations. It examines in particular: a) the growing distance in the usage of the concept by different disciplinary and thematic fields; b) the process of 'branching out' of the concept from restricted to more multidimensional definitions; c) the problems with construct validity and concept stretching, and d) the generalized lack of clarity that exists regarding the institutional sources of state capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMaastricht
PublisherAFD‐MGSoG/UNU‐Merit Working Paper Series on Institutions and Economic Growth: IPD WP13
Number of pages58
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

SeriesUNU-MERIT Working Papers

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