How do effective states emerge?

This project examines the role of capable, committed, and accountable states in delivering inclusive development.

Further, it will investigate the economic and political drivers of how such states emerge, especially in conflict-affected and fragile environments, and what interventions development partners can use to support these developments.

State capability is defined as the institutional capacity of the state to carry out various policies that can bring about inclusive economic growth, as well as deliver benefits and services to households and firms. The analysis of state capability has emerged as the cutting edge of research on the relationship between governance, institutions, and economic development.

This project aims to address the existing knowledge and policy gaps related to the conditions for effective states and political leadership to emerge, as well as to create the blueprint for a new way for development partners to approach economic growth and private sector development in countries experiencing conflict or fragility.

To achieve this, this project will commission and publish high-quality research and conduct a policy innovation lab with development partners.

Key questions:
  • Under what conditions do committed political leadership emerge? How effective are low-cost, norm-based disciplining of politicians in environments where asymmetric information makes citizen scrutiny of politician behaviour difficult?
  • As foreign aid becomes increasingly concentrated on the most vexing cases of fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS), how can policy-oriented research respond to the challenge of how to address political economy dynamics while constructing economic growth and private sector development strategies in FCAS economies?
Watch this space

All papers, events, briefs, blog posts, and opportunities to engage relating to the project will be available on this webpage.

UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The enhancement of state capability in developing countries matters in itself in the achievement of SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.


Main subject

Theme: 2019-23, Transforming states