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.

Suggested Citation

Fortin-Rittberger, Jessica, Does Weak State Capacity Lead to Vertically Concentrated Executives? (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Jessica Fortin-Rittberger (Contact Author)

University of Salzburg ( email )

Akademiestraße 26
Salzburg, 5020

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