Does Weak State Capacity Lead to Vertically Concentrated Executives?
25 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
The link between a strong state and democratic institutions is becoming a well-established finding. Despite mounting empirical evidence mapping the existence of such a connection, very few contributors have been able to propose a mechanism through which this dynamic operates, hence thwarting attempts to establish a causal direction. This paper attempts to fill this gap by linking post-independence levels of state capacity with the strength of presidents, an institutional feature already hypothesized to have strong effects on democratization efforts. Using 26 post-communist countries over the period 1989-2009, I argue that state capacity, understood as “the institutional capacity of a central state, despotic or not, to penetrate its territories and logistically implement decisions,” affects democratization processes by shaping the level of concentration of power in the hands of executives.
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