Aid and Institution-Building in Fragile States
What Do We Know? What Can Comparative Analysis Add?
Why and how some states transition successfully from fragile to more robust—and some do not—are both topical and age-old questions. This volume of The ANNALS addresses these questions with particular attention to the role of foreign aid, offering new traction on theory development on state-building through the use of comparative analysis. Contributions cover selected major cases of aid-supported state-building from the end of the Second World War to the present. Collectively, they highlight the potential for external assistance both to stimulate change and to alter incentives toward institution-building in fragile states. They also show the limits of external assistance by emphasizing the decisive influence of domestic institutional legacies and political dynamics. This article frames the issues addressed in this volume and draws out key findings relevant to current public debates, including the limits to aid, the influence of historical state strength, institutional change through colonial and postcolonial interventions, and political economy incentives to maintain state weakness.