Building State Capacity: The Other Side of Political Development

May 2012

Recent research on regime change has opened up exciting new perspectives on the process whereby states become more democratic, but we know much less about the corresponding process whereby states acquire the capacities to implement policies of expanding scope successfully.

Using comparisons across Europe and the US in the 19th and early 20th centuries and the developing world today, we will identify the nature of this process that characterizes the other side of development and explore the factors that explain variation in its pace and outcomes.

Our premise is that a process often seen in organizational terms is deeply political, marked by efforts to mobilize coalitions of support for new policies and institutions among multiple social actors.