Measuring State Capacity: Theoretical and Empirical Implications for the Study of Civil Conflict
Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 273-285
42 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 16 Jul 2010
Date Written: 2009
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
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