Measurement and Evolution of State Capacity: Exploring a Lesser Known Aspect of Governance

Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre Working Paper 10, April 2012

28 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2012 Last revised: 3 Apr 2015

See all articles by Antonio Savoia

Antonio Savoia

University of Manchester - Global Development Institute

Kunal Sen

University of Manchester

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This paper offers an overview of the strengths and limitations in current empirical research on the measurement of state capacity. The paper also surveys the fast emerging literature on the determinants and effects of state capacity. We argue that existing measures on governance quality used in cross-national research can be usefully exploited to capture different aspects of state capacity. We utilise them to provide stylised facts on its evolution, and that post the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, developing economies have experienced improvements in legal, administrative and bureaucratic capacity, but the gap with advanced economies is still wide. We note that empirical analysis is constrained by the short temporal coverage of available measures. Future research should also address this, as well as providing a systematic econometric assessment of the determinants of capacity and of its effects on development outcomes, such as health and education, which have not received sufficient scrutiny.

Keywords: state capacity, governance, measurement, Cold War

JEL Classification: O4, P5, N4

Suggested Citation

Savoia, Antonio and Sen, Kunal, Measurement and Evolution of State Capacity: Exploring a Lesser Known Aspect of Governance (2012). Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre Working Paper 10, April 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2141901 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2141901

Antonio Savoia (Contact Author)

University of Manchester - Global Development Institute ( email )

Arthur Lewis building
Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Kunal Sen

University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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