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The Political Foundations of State Effectiveness

State Building in the Developing World, Miguel Centeno, Atul Kohli and Deborah Yashar, eds., Forthcoming

Watson Institute for International Studies Research Paper No. 2015-24

36 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2015  

Peter Evans

Brown University - Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Evelyne Huber

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Political Science

John D. Stephens

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: June 1, 2014

Abstract

Starting from the assumption that the aim of development is to increase human flourishing, this paper develops an analytical perspective on how effective states are built. Modern theories of development see the state as the key agent for delivering the most critical forms of productive investment – investment in capability expanding collective goods. Accomplishing this requires bureaucratic capacity, as earlier analyses of state effectiveness have argued, but state-society relations are equally crucial. We focus on the “Sen-Ostrom” model – deliberative mechanisms to specify goals plus engagement of communities as “co-producers” of services – as the key elements of effective state society relations. Our effort to identify institutions and strategies that might lead to the efficacious engagement of the broadest possible cross-section of the populace led us to a re-engagement with left social democracy. But, resuscitating traditional models of left social democracy is not sufficient; different contexts require new conceptualizations. Patrick Heller’s “state-civil society model” and Cheol-sung Lee’s “embedded cohesiveness/political network model” gave us tools for revising, deepening and extending the basic party-union dynamics of the traditional left social democratic model. Putting the Huber-Stephens analysis of left social democracy together with the Heller and Lee models offers a promising platform for future debate on the general political logic of state-society relations.

Keywords: Development, society, state, Sen-Ostrom model, social democracy, state-society

Suggested Citation

Evans, Peter and Huber, Evelyne and Stephens, John D., The Political Foundations of State Effectiveness (June 1, 2014). State Building in the Developing World, Miguel Centeno, Atul Kohli and Deborah Yashar, eds., Forthcoming; Watson Institute for International Studies Research Paper No. 2015-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2563253

Peter Evans (Contact Author)

Brown University - Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs ( email )

111 Thayer Street
Box 1970
Providence, RI 02912-1970
United States

Evelyne Huber

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Political Science ( email )

361 Hamilton Hall
CB#3265
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3265
United States

John D. Stephens

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

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