Theme Panel: State Capacity, Strategies of Governance and Development


Theme Panel: State Capacity, Strategies of Governance and Development

Sat, September 3, 2:00 to 3:30pm

he emergence of states capable of projecting political power over their entire territories and over increasing areas of social life represents one of the greatest social transformations in the history of human societies. In line with APSA 2016 annual meeting’s theme, “Great Transformations: Political Science and the Big Questions of Our Time”, the papers gathered for this panel will explore the causal factors that determine the expansion of state capacity and its effects on human well-being across different historical and geographical environments. In particular, all of these papers focus on (1) how states solve the requirements of governance in contexts of low state capacity (e.g., through community norms, by empowering non-state actors, by mimicking strategies from other states, or by substituting economic, coercive or ideological resources with others); and (2) how these alternative strategies shape different long-term trajectories of political development.

First, Johannes Lindvall and Jan Teorell (Lund University) will offer a conceptual critique of the current literature on state capacity. They argue that rather than treating the economic, social, and political outcomes experienced by twentieth-century Western European states as the benchmark for high-state capacity, we should shift our attention to the study of techniques and resources that states adopt at different points in time and in different contexts to control territories and populations.

Second, Jonathan Hanson (University of Michigan) will present a paper that operationalizes and tests theories from the comparative politics and international relations literatures about what leads to state building, using the State Capacity Dataset (Hanson and Sigman, 2013), an original dataset based on annual estimates of levels of state capacity for most countries in the world from 1960-2010. These estimates were derived through Bayesian factor analysis from 25 different indicators that are theoretically connected to the coercive, extractive and administrative dimensions of state capacity, and represent one of the most reliable measures of state capacity to date.

View full panel description in the 2016 Online Program.

Daniel F. Ziblatt, Harvard University

Anna M. Grzymala-Busse

How States Project Political Power: Rethinking the Concept of State Capacity
Johannes Lindvall, Lund University
Jan Teorell, Lund University
Patterns of State Capacity Diffusion
Agustin Alonso Goenaga Orrego, Lund University
Alexander Von Hagen-Jamar, Lund University
Laying the Foundations of the State
Jonathan Hanson, University of Michigan
Strong States and Strategic Governance: Territorial Variation in State Presence
Jessica Steinberg, Indiana University
Toward a Theory of Social Institutions
Ellen M. Lust, University of Gothenburg