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The State

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  1. The State Origin, Transformation, and Collapse

  2. I. Defining the State • Definition based on politics: community or institution with a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force over people in its territory • Definition based on language: The totality of a country’s governmental institutions and officials, together with the laws & procedures that structure their activities • Key feature: Sovereignty (sole legal authority over people and territory)

  3. II. Theories of the State • Formalism (a.k.a. the “Old” Institutionalism) – Constitutions and laws determine resource allocation and political outcomes • Look at successful states to copy design features (success attributed to formal laws). Freedom preserved by Bill of Rights, etc. • Problems: • Same constitutions = different outcomes (Swiss, Filipinos, Liberians all modeled US Constitution) • People sometimes obey states but other times overthrow them • Difficult to predict which mechanisms will be effective because no theory about why some work while others fail

  4. B. Functionalism: The state serves functions for society • Assumptions: • Every society must perform certain functions in order to survive (reproduction, education, defense, etc.) • Both formal and informal rules needed to preserve social stability • Existing customs and laws serve certain universal functions. Which ones? • State failure explained as “disequilibrium” – some parts failed to fulfill functions • Problems: • Theory is tautological –What predictions can we make? • Treats status quo as “normal” state of affairs – but some institutions seem to have negative effects (ag agencies decreasing ag production…)

  5. C. Social Forces: The state is an object of struggle • Assumption: Political outcomes are the result of interest groups fighting over the control of resources • Method: Examine group strength and position, then calculate “sum of forces” to arrive at result • Problems: • Similar group alignments produce different outcomes in different states • Some groups appear to have influence out of proportion to objective power (resources) • States intervene to alter group power

  6. D. Rational Choice: The state is composed of rational individuals • Focuses on individuals. • Rationality = • Connected preferences: People know what they want (although they might not know what’s really good for them) • Transitory preferences: People are consistent about what they want • Method: Given preferences, how can individuals get what they want? Private enterprise, collective action, or politics? • Problem: “Rules of the game” differ in different countries  incentives to behave differently

  7. E. The “New” Institutionalism: Institutions as “Rules of the Game” • Assumes social forces or rational choice: Actors pursuing interests do construct or alter states, often to solve collective action problems or security dilemmas • Argues that state institutions in turn structure group/individual decision-making by changing incentives (indeed, this was their purpose) • Implication: Different group relations produce different institutions (Example: Presidentialism inappropriate for competition between ethnically-based parties) • Problem: Still no theory of preferences. Why do people have different desires?

  8. III. Evolution of the State • State formation: • Early polities: Socially-stratified groups in which people specialize, with some specializing in administration or governance. • Large polities become empires through conquest and relaxing criteria for inclusion (beyond the family or tribe) • States become territorial: Clovis is “King of the Franks” in late 5th Century but Capetians are “Kings of France” in 6th Century. Laws of people (wherever they might be) replaced by laws of territories. • Loyalty still personal: To the person, not the position. • “Capstone governments” – States are composed of different groups ruled by their own customs and only occasionally interacting with government. “Early states ran wide but not deep.”

  9. B. Transition to the Supremacy of States • Centralization: Technology, economic growth, trade, better defense enable rulers to centralize authority and “deepen” ties to the state through taxation and policing • Rule of Law: Formal law is enforced, contracts become written, etc. • Sovereignty: Clash between sources of authority (Church and state) produces huge wars and leads to development of sovereignty norm (only the state has control over its people and territory) Note: From here on, everything is disputed…

  10. C. Colonialism and Institution-Building • European states ignored sovereignty of non-Europeans, imposed new institutions • Institutions selected for benefit of colonial powers or colonists • Densely populated areas (tropics): Native labor exploited through slavery and feudalism • Sparsely populated areas: Institutions set up to encourage further colonization by Europeans (representation, autonomy)

  11. 3. The Institution-Based Reversal: Colonial Development and Population

  12. D. The Constitutional State • Why would rulers limit their own power? • Increased trade enriches merchant class  able to finance rebellion (stick) or Crown (carrot) • Absolutism restrains trade (no secure property rights): only Crown enriched

  13. Voyages Per Year: Mediterranean (Pink) vs. Atlantic (Blue) Trade

  14. D. The Constitutional State • Why would rulers limit their own power? • Increased trade enriches merchant class  able to finance rebellion (stick) or Crown (carrot) • Absolutism restrains trade (no secure property rights): only Crown enriched • Result: Bifurcation of Europe into constitutional (England, Netherlands) and absolutist (Spain, Portugal) regimes • Expansion of franchise: Threat of revolution when industrialization empowers poor (unskilled labor)

  15. E. Post-Colonial States • Most “born” with institutions designed for benefit of others • Pre-independence institutions enriched some local elites and impoverished others (divide and rule -- or mobilization of revolutionary armies) • Existing elites use economic power to preserve political power (institutions designed to perpetuate rule)

  16. IV. Future of the State: Threats to Legitimacy and Power • A New World Order? Undermining the legitimacy of state sovereignty • International Relations: Sovereign states sometimes have to bargain with other sovereign states to solve common problems • Problem: Treaties should be unenforceable • Solution: Create “self-enforcing” agreements like multilateral treaties that sanction violators • Alternative solution: Create common decision-making entity (UN, EU, IMF, etc.) • Either solution constrains the state, eroding sovereignty in practice (#3) or law (#4)

  17. B. Civil War: Sovereignty Under Siege • Geographic Causes • Land Area: Bigger countries more prone to secessionism • Terrain: Mountains increase war risk (less evidence for jungles or forests) • Resources: Oil increases risk (less evidence for metals and diamonds) • Neighborhood: Contagion effects

  18. 2. Economic Causes • Per-capita GDP: Both level and growth rate reduce war risk, but “vertical” inequality has no effect (few studies of “horizontal” inequality) • Primary commodity exports: Countries dependent on raw material exports are war-prone • Social welfare: Low infant mortality and high secondary school enrollment reduce war risk • Agriculture: Soil degradation increases war risk

  19. 3. Political Causes • History: Recent wars increase risk (effect lasts for more than 10 years) • Regime type: Anocracy is dangerous

  20. Anocracy and State Failure

  21. 3. Political Causes • History: Recent wars increase risk (effect lasts for more than 10 years) • Regime type: Anocracy is dangerous (and strong democracy is better than autocracy) • Regime change: Political instability increases war risk

  22. 4. Demographic Causes • Population: More people = higher risk (but evidence on population density is mixed) • Diversity: Results are mixed, but some studies find ethnic heterogeneity increases risk (no real evidence for linguistic, religious, or social diversity)

  23. Relationship: Diversity and Income

  24. Relationship: Diversity and Freedom

  25. 5. Civil War Risk is Declining

  26. C. State failure: Sovereignty without authority. Three routes to state failure: • Catastrophe: Something overwhelms state’s ability to provide even minimal protection or enforce law. Causes: • Low capacity to respond to catastrophe (civil war, poverty, corruption)

  27. Corruption Perceptions Index

  28. C. State failure: Sovereignty without authority. Three routes to state failure: • Catastrophe: Something overwhelms state’s ability to provide even minimal protection or enforce law. Causes: • Low capacity to respond to catastrophe (civil war, poverty, corruption) • Natural disasters: Tend to recur in same places

  29. Affected by Disasters, 1975-2004 (UNEP)

  30. Killed by Disasters, 1975-2004 (UNEP)

  31. C. State failure: Sovereignty without authority. Three routes to state failure: • Catastrophe: Something overwhelms state’s ability to provide even minimal protection or enforce law. Causes: • Low capacity to respond to catastrophe (civil war, poverty, corruption) • Natural disasters: Tend to recur in same places • Disease: Compare health care resources to disease risk

  32. Per-Capita Health Spending

  33. HIV Cases

  34. TB Cases

  35. TB Incidence per 100,000

  36. Malaria Deaths

  37. Cholera Deaths

  38. Polio Cases

  39. 2. Sovereignty without institutionalization: State is created which lacks de-personalized institutions or capacity to extract taxes and monopolize force • Recent decolonization/independence -- “New” states at risk

  40. b. State “birth” type and institutional strength • Hypothesis: States born in revolution, secession, or nonviolent struggle for independence should be stronger than those granted independence without struggle (examples: Congo, Uzbekistan) • IV = Better birth experience (requiring organization and solution of collective action problems) • Tests using both GDP and Rotberg’s (2004) index of state failure as DVs reveal…

  41. iv. The puzzle of state birth • Good births increase later GDP and decrease odds of state failure but… • Relationship disappears when war participation is also included as a (control) IV. Why? • Theory: War produces state strength. • Interstate war increases later growth! • Civil war decreases later growth • Another finding: States with imposed borders different from pre-colonization ones have lower growth, higher rates of failure

  42. c. Personalized regimes: Difficult to measure • One indicator = unconstrained executives (very similar to autocracy measures). Test Results:

  43. Estimated risk of genocide – it goes up when unconstrained executives have a powerful Army Index of Military Personnel

  44. c. Personalized regimes: Difficult to measure • One indicator = unconstrained executives (very similar to autocracy measures). Test Results: unconstrained executive + large military = danger • Alternative experiment: Compare personalist post-Soviet regimes to institutionalized or previously-independent regimes. DV = violent deaths… • Everyone agrees Turkmenistan was personalized. Why?

  45. Welcome to Turkmenistan, 2006 • A statue of our glorious leader, President-for-Life Turkmenbashi (meaning Great Leader of All Turkmen). • This is one of a half-dozen statues of him we made out of gold. (Really, it was the least we could do.)

  46. You’ll be hearing a lot about Turkmenbashi here… • This one revolves so he may always face the sun!

  47. He’s everywhere!