Looking Like a State: Techniques of Persistent Failure in State Capability for Implementation

  title={Looking Like a State: Techniques of Persistent Failure in State Capability for Implementation},
  author={L. Pritchett and M. Woolcock and M. Andrews},
  journal={The Journal of Development Studies},
  pages={1 - 18}
Abstract In many nations today the state has little capability to carry out even basic functions like security, policing, regulation or core service delivery. Enhancing this capability, especially in fragile states, is a long-term task: countries like Haiti or Liberia will take many decades to reach even a moderate capability country like India, and millennia to reach the capability of Singapore. Short-term programmatic efforts to build administrative capability in these countries are thus… Expand
Flexible Implementation: A Key to Asia's Transformation
Executive SummaryDespite the regions economic growth over the last few decades, countries across Asia still face the complex challenge of structural transformation. Low-income economies must buildExpand
Overview: Institutions Taking Root: Building State Capacity in Challenging Contexts
Building and operating successful public institutions is a perennial and long-term challenge for governments, especially in the volatile conditions found in fragile settings. Yet experience has shownExpand
Service delivery and state capacity : findings from the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium.
Every year a quarter of all international aid – approximately US$15 billion – is spent on capacity development. However, despite the continued dominance of capacity development, results areExpand
South Sudan's Capability Trap: Building a State with Disruptive Innovation
The prevailing aid orthodoxy works well enough in stable environments, but is ill-equipped to navigate contexts of volatility and fragility. The orthodox approach is adept at solving straightforwardExpand
Institutions Taking Root : Building State Capacity in Challenging Contexts
Building and operating successful public institutions is a perennial and long-term challenge for governments, even under ideal circumstances. The complexity of this challenge is compounded by theExpand
Engaging with fragile and conflict-affected states: An alternative approach to theory, measurement and practice
The coherence and effectiveness of engagement with the world’s ‘fragile and conflictaffected states’—beyond ethical imperatives and geo-strategic considerations—turns on answers to twoExpand
Engaging with Fragile and Conflict-Affected States
The coherence and effectiveness of engagement with the world's 'fragile and conflict- affected states'--beyond ethical imperatives and geo-strategic considerations--turns on answers to two vexingExpand
Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action
Evidence of the capability shortfalls that currently exist in many countries is provided, showing that many governments lack basic capacities even after decades of reforms and capacity building efforts, and a process that governments can use to escape these capability traps is described. Expand
Aiming at the Wrong Targets: The Domestic Consequences of International Efforts to Build Institutions
We explain why international development organizations have had so little success building and reforming public sector institutions in developing countries. They often fail despite their apparentlyExpand
Escaping the Capability Trap: Turning"Small"Development Into"Big"Development
The international development community has been grappling with the challenges of implementing development programs and, consequently, with the design of practical approaches to attaining programExpand


Capability Traps? The Mechanisms of Persistent Implementation Failure
Many countries remain stuck in conditions of low productivity that many call "poverty traps." Economic growth is only one aspect of development; another key dimension of development is the expansionExpand
World development report 2011 : conflict, security, and development
The 2011 World Development Report looks across disciplines and experiences drawn from around the world to offer some ideas and practical recommendations on how to move beyond conflict and fragilityExpand
Interim Institutions and the Development Process: Opening Spaces for Reform In Cambodia and Indonesia
While there is broad agreement among scholars and practitioners on the importance of ‘good governance’, ‘the rule of law’ and ‘effective institutions’ for ensuring positive development outcomes, weExpand
Development Strategies: Integrating Governance and Growth
A frontier challenge for development strategy is to move beyond prescribing optimal economic policies, and instead -- taking a broad view of the interactions between economic, political and socialExpand
Solutions When the Solution is the Problem: Arraying the Disarray in Development
Summary. — An analytic framework for tracing three waves of efforts to provide key public services in developing countries is provided. Persistent (though not universal) failure has been the productExpand
Fragile States : Stuck in a Capability Trap?
This paper addresses some of the challenges facing fragile states. The paper has four sections, each of which introduces an odd phrase. The first takes the odd phrase of isomorphic mimicry fromExpand
The Good Governance Agenda: Beyond Indicators without Theory
Effective government matters, but what is it? Good governance indicators go some way to provide a definition, but how much do they say about what effectiveness is, why this is so, and how it mattersExpand
Breaking Legal Inequality Traps: New Approaches to Building Justice Systems for the Poor in Developing Countries
There has long been broad agreement on the importance of building and enhancing access to 'rule of law' systems in developing countries, but efforts to do either of these things have an unhappyExpand
Good Enough Governance: Poverty Reduction and Reform in Developing Countries
The good governance agenda is unrealistically long and growing longer over time. Among the multitude of governance reforms that “must be done” to encourage development and reduce poverty, there isExpand
Development critiques in the 1990s: culs de sacand promising paths
The final decade of the last millennium opened with the demise not only of soviet-style socialism and of apartheid. In addition, shock troops of the neoliberal right and the cultural left confidentlyExpand