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The political economy of state failure

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  • Paul Collier

Abstract

Rapid decolonization created many arbitrary countries. In contrast to those states which had emerged through a quasi-Darwinian process of selection, some of these new countries had structural characteristics which gravely impeded the provision of public goods. Their lack of a unifying sense of shared identity made cooperation difficult, and their tiny economic size left them unable to reap scale economies. Two public goods, security and accountability, are particularly important for development and so, where they could not be provided, states failed. The cause of a problem is not necessarily a guide to its solution: Darwinian struggle among failing states is not something to be encouraged. Solutions lie partly in a phase of international provision of the key public goods, partly in enhanced regional pooling of sovereignty, and partly in institutional innovation to make the domestic provision of public goods less demanding of the state. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Collier, 2009. "The political economy of state failure," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 219-240, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:25:y:2009:i:2:p:219-240
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oxrep/grp013
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    Cited by:

    1. José Ernesto Amorós Espinosa & Luciano Ciravegna & Vesna Mandakovic & Pekka Stenmolm, 2017. "Necessity or opportunity? the effects of State fragility and economic development on entrepreneurial efforts," Serie Working Papers 42, Universidad del Desarrollo, School of Business and Economics.
    2. David Hulme & Antonio Savoia & Kunal Sen, 2015. "Governance as a Global Development Goal? Setting, Measuring and Monitoring the Post-2015 Development Agenda," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 6(2), pages 85-96, May.
    3. Estrada, Fernando & Mutascu, Mihai & Tiwari, Aviral, 2011. "Estabilidad política y tributación
      [Taxation and political stability]
      ," MPRA Paper 32414, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Joshua K. Ault & Andrew Spicer, 2014. "The institutional context of poverty: State fragility as a predictor of cross-national variation in commercial microfinance lending," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1818-1838, December.
    5. Jimenez-Ayora, Pablo & Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet Ali, 2015. "What underlies weak states? The role of terrain ruggedness," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 167-183.
    6. Antonio Savoia & Kunal Sen, 2015. "Measurement, Evolution, Determinants, And Consequences Of State Capacity: A Review Of Recent Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 441-458, July.
    7. Estrada, Fernando, 2013. "Estabilidad política y poder fiscal
      [political stability and tax power]
      ," MPRA Paper 58458, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2014.

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