Measuring State Capacity: Theoretical and Empirical Implications for the Study of Civil Conflict

Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 273-285

APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper

42 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 16 Jul 2010

See all articles by Cullen S. Hendrix

Cullen S. Hendrix

University of Denver - Josef Korbel School of International Studies; Peterson Institute for International Economics

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

This article discusses key conceptual and measurement issues raised by measures of state capacity in studies of civil conflict. First, it reviews various competing definitions and measures of state capacity, focusing specifically on those that emphasize 1) military capacity, 2) bureaucratic administrative capacity, and 3) the quality and coherence of political institutions. Second, it critically assesses these measures on the basis of construct validity. Third, it compares quantitatively fifteen different operationalizations of state capacity, and finds the concept of state capacity to be three dimensional - though the dimensions do not map cleanly on to the theoretical categories - and suggests a multivariate approach to modeling state capacity based on bureaucratic quality and tax capacity.

Keywords: civil conflict, state capacity, factor analysis, bureaucratic quality

Suggested Citation

Hendrix, Cullen S., Measuring State Capacity: Theoretical and Empirical Implications for the Study of Civil Conflict (2009). Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 273-285; APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450586

Cullen S. Hendrix (Contact Author)

University of Denver - Josef Korbel School of International Studies ( email )

Denver, CO 80208
United States

Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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