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How Change Happens$

Duncan Green

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198785392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198785392.001.0001

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How States Evolve

How States Evolve

(p.79) 4 How States Evolve
How Change Happens

Duncan Green

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the dynamics of change in states. States exemplify the challenges of complexity. The interactions, alliances, and disputes between politicians and civil servants; between one ministry and another; or between different tiers of government; and how each of them in turn respond to citizen demand and other external pressures, provide the political landscape upon which decisions are made. The chapter argues that understanding states as systems, rather than monoliths, should help avoid the cruder characterizations of states as ‘successes’ or ‘failures’. Thus, learning to ‘dance with the system’—understanding how the state in question evolved, how its decisions are made, how formal and informal power is distributed within it, and how that distribution shifts over time—are essential tasks for any activist intent on making change happen.

Keywords:   states, state changes, developing countries, state evolution, state systems, state powers

In 2015, I spoke to a director of works in a Pacific island nation who understandably preferred to remain anonymous because he had had enough. A no-nonsense engineer trying to build the roads his country desperately needs, he was instead grappling with a venal political system. His frustration was palpable:

In a mature system, everything is in place—the rules, the processes. Here, the playing field changes all the time. Development here is politics. We can see where we want to go, the vision for 2020. But we have a government that is power-hungry, politicians maintaining their own position. I’ve been moved, suspended, chucked out, called names. We had a good, cost-effective road programme on one of our islands. Then in comes a new minister, and one of his advisers is from that island, so he makes promises, says he wants to build some ridiculously expensive road. I say it’s impossible and am basically told ‘I’m the minister, what I says goes—I want you out by 5 pm’.

The director, who survived in the end, is a good example of many unsung heroes in the drama of development: civil servants who soldier on despite the obstacles, because the stakes are so high—the institution they work within will shape the fates and futures of their peoples. That institution is the state.

The German philosopher GWF Hegel described the state as ‘the march of God through the world’.1 I doubt the frustrated Pacific engineer would agree with its divine origins, but to a greater or lesser degree, states ensure the provision of health, education, water, and (p.80) sanitation; they guarantee rights, security, the rule of law, and social and economic stability; they arbitrate in the inevitable disputes between individuals and groups; they regulate, develop, and upgrade the economy; they organize the defence of national territory. More intangibly, they are an essential source of identity—the rise of nationalism and the state have gone hand to hand, for good or ill.

My own views on the state have evolved from indifference to hostility to admiration. Growing up in 1970s Britain, I was surrounded by a state languishing in the midst of stagflation, industrial unrest, and an aura of historical decline. Everything exciting (anti-nuclear protests, the burgeoning environmental and feminist movements, the cathartic anarchism of punk) was happening outside the channels of government. The state was boring and I took it for granted. In Chile and Argentina in the early 1980s, I saw a far bleaker side of the state: beribboned dictators in sunglasses, and friends in permanent pain over the whereabouts of their ‘disappeared’ relatives. Latin America at that time recalled George Orwell’s 1984, written at the onset of the Cold War, with its dystopian vision of a ‘big brother state’ as ‘a boot stamping on a human face, forever’.2

Later in the decade, I moved to Nicaragua before the sheen came off the Sandinista Revolution and saw the upsurge in social and economic freedoms a progressive state could achieve. Then, as Latin America slid into debt crisis and enacted ill-conceived liberalizing market reforms in the 1980s and 1990s, I was struck by the contrast between the region’s economic stagnation and the concurrent state-driven ‘Asian Miracle’. Collaboration with Ha-Joon Chang cemented my belief in a positive role for the state in development.3 Matthew Lockwood’s book on the state in Africa4 convinced me that at the heart of Africa’s (p.81) problems lay weak states, more than the international system then being targeted by activists around the world. I then focussed my 2008 book, From Poverty to Power on ‘effective states’ as a central pillar of development.

States may be ubiquitous, but they are far from static. A constant process of conflict and bargaining shapes their contours and responsibilities, and a flux of power determines both what changes and what does not. Activists need to look under the bonnet of states, and understand them as complex systems that can be influenced. The dynamics of change in states epitomizes the characteristics of systems discussed in Chapter 1: the combination of steady change and sudden, unpredictable jumps born of personalities and events. So does states’ inertia: ideas, institutions, and interests interact to prevent progress and drive well-intentioned civil servants to distraction.

I worked for a brief spell for the British government’s development department in the mid-2000s. What had appeared to an NGO activist on the outside as a monolithic institution dissolved into Whitehall’s sprawling system of ministries and personalities, each with their own traditions, jargons, and acronyms (lots of acronyms). Power was endlessly disputed within the system, as everyone lobbied internally for their preferred policies and budgets, using all the tactics of activists everywhere—coalitions, the search for champions, seizing critical junctures, and the rest.

Officials, especially ‘mandarins’ (senior civil servants), emerged from the shadows as powerful players and rather more permanent than their political masters. The enduring popularity of the British TV satire Yes Minister (which I am told is used to induct French officials into the ways of Whitehall) comes from the pleasure of watching the suave mandarin, Sir Humphrey, run rings round his hapless political master. Beyond the Whitehall bubble, similar scenarios can be found in other tiers of the state, right down to local councils.

States influence the lives of their citizens primarily by agreeing and implementing laws, rules and policies, taxation and spending, and public messaging that influences norms and beliefs. Their most basic role is to guarantee the physical security of the population, offering (p.82) protection against disaster and preventing what Hobbes called the ‘war of all against all’,5 in which citizens are at the mercy of anyone with a weapon and a grudge. Historically, as Orwell described, this role has been a double-edged sword. In the twentieth century some 170 million people were killed by their own governments, four times the number killed in wars between states.6 The picture looks different today; the worst deprivation and suffering often coincide with states that are weak or almost non-existent.

Freedom to be and to do requires income as well as security. States help create jobs, and regulate and upgrade the economy to deliver the kind of inclusive growth that liberates people from hunger and want and allows them to acquire knowledge, skills, voice, and agency, not least by guaranteeing access to quality healthcare, education, water, and sanitation, along with some form of social protection.

Politically, states guarantee the rights and voice of poor and excluded groups both directly (the right to vote, access to justice) and by creating an enabling environment, for example, through legislation on access to information, media independence, or decentralization and other participatory governance reforms.

Of course a gulf yawns between what states should do in theory and what they actually do in practice. Some readers whose experience suggests the state is a tool for elites and anything but progressive will have found these paragraphs alarmingly naive. State sceptics laud the role non-state institutions can play in providing the essentials of a decent life. Development economist Paul Collier even argued for ‘independent service authorities’ in countries like Haiti, deliberately bypassing states viewed as corrupt, inept, and unreformable. I asked Paul what his exit strategy would be—how would these authorities eventually hand power back to elected officials—he had no reply.7 (p.83) I believe there is no substitute for effective, accountable states and whatever we do in the short term should help build toward that goal. Setting up parallel and competing systems seems likely to undermine the process.

Understanding states as systems, rather than monoliths, should help us avoid the cruder characterizations of states as ‘successes’ or ‘failures’. States emerge over time and evolve as they interact with numerous non-state institutions and individuals. It is those interactions that matter for activists seeking to promote change.

How states evolve

In evolutionary terms, states are a comparatively recent addition to the family and kinship groups that have been the basic building block of human society since homo sapiens emerged from Africa some 100,000 years ago. China was the first to create a recognizably modern state, in the shape of a coherent, merit-based bureaucracy in the third century BC. By contrast, modern states did not emerge in Europe until some 2,000 years later, following two centuries of wars that whittled 500 political entities down into a couple of dozen nation states.8

States rise and fall; prolonged periods of institutional inertia are punctuated by crises and sudden change. Over time, however, states have expanded, both in remit and size. States that once confined themselves to conscripting and taxing their citizens now seek to influence many aspects of their lives. In 1880, government spending in the UK and US was only about 10 per cent of GDP;9 by 2013 it was 45 per cent and 39 per cent respectively.10 State spending tends to (p.84) grow as economies develop—in 2012 governments in low income countries spent only 16.5 per cent of their much lower GDP, compared to 38.3 per cent in the Euro area.11

In his monumental history of the state,12 Francis Fukuyama argues that ‘the miracle of modern politics’ lies in achieving a precarious balance between three pillars: effective centralized administration (civil service), the rule of law (courts), and accountability mechanisms (elected government and parliamentary oversight). Following this framework, I will discuss the administration in this chapter, while subsequent ones will cover the machinery of law and accountability.

Balance among these three elements is a miracle because they are often in conflict. Central administrations usually seek to maximize their power, while courts and parliaments seek to limit it. When balance is achieved, it doesn’t always last: societies have always wrestled with the ability of lobbyists and vested interests (‘hidden power’) to buy access and influence with decision makers. In trying to influence states, insider activists use many of the same tactics, albeit with considerably less money and different aims.

Fukuyama argues that the UK in the nineteenth century was the first to put in place a balance of all three pillars. He also finds comfort in the history of the US, which suffered mind-boggling levels of patronage and corruption in the nineteenth century, yet in the fifty years prior to the Second World War managed to turn the US government into a relatively effective bureaucracy.

In today’s developing countries, successive waves of European colonization wielded a determining influence over the evolution of states. Britain, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and others took over existing states or created new ones where none had previously existed. In Latin America, Spain found the militarist imperial structures of the (p.85) Aztecs and Incas not that dissimilar from its own, and used them to rule over their conquered subjects, leaving a legacy of hierarchical unresponsive bureaucracies.

In lucrative Asian colonies such as India or Singapore, whose wealth and trade underwrote the British Empire and Britain’s industrialization, the colonizers invested significantly in the national army and civil service to suit their purposes, institutions that lived on after independence. China and East Asia’s legacy of strong states survived European occupation and provided a basis for rebuilding upon decolonization. Africa was another story; the pillage of its people by the slave trade required no state institutions and, with the exception of South Africa, the continent appeared to offer little wealth and myriad difficulties for the colonizers. As a result, the Europeans opted for indirect rule with few settlers and fewer state institutions. The least developed parts of the world today are those that lacked either strong indigenous state institutions or transplanted settler-based ones.13

The evolution of modern states has taken centuries, in a tortured and often bloody process far removed from the staid world of technocratic ‘state building’ promoted by today’s aid donors. Typical of the evolution of complex systems, the dynamic has been one of slow change, punctuated by sudden upheavals. Historically, war has been one of the great drivers of state evolution; in the words of social historian Charles Tilly, ‘war made the state and the state made war’.14 The first proper state was forged amid carnage on the battlefields of China, and a similar bloodbath gave birth to modern European states and many others across the globe.

War posed existential threats that forced elites to pool their efforts, accept restraints on their individual power, and embrace change. It led to the introduction and expansion of taxation, which in turn required (p.86) a state bureaucracy to collect and administer the revenue. And it laid the foundation for a social contract between citizen and state based on security: the former provided soldiers and money in return for the latter’s protection. As noted in Chapter 1, the two world wars of the twentieth century vastly expanded the obligations of citizens and states to each other.

Wars (or the threat of them) are examples of ‘critical junctures’, major events that also include financial meltdowns and epidemics (the Black Death transformed Europe in the fourteenth century). Another such juncture is a ‘resource shock’ that finances either a feeding frenzy (Nigeria’s discovery of oil and gas), a period of boom and prosperity (Botswana’s diamonds) or a cycle of overspending, indebtedness and financial crisis (as seems to be happening in Ghana after its recent oil finds).

Each of these shocks prompted shifts in the structures and operating values of the state that proved crucial to movements for change. Critical junctures act as catalysts of change, rearranging the patterns of alliances and allegiances that underpin the political order, but also transforming norms on everything from the role of the state in providing welfare to the rights of women or African Americans (both strongly influenced by the Second World War). Activists’ thirty-year, apparently unsuccessful, campaign for a ‘Tobin Tax’ on financial transactions only came to fruition after the 2008 global financial crisis, an example explored in Chapter 11.

Longer-term, less visible processes than war also create evolutionary pressures on the state. Economic growth can create new poles of power: it can throw up new entrants to elites, who demand preferential policies; and it can lay the basis for new social movements, through which middle classes demand civil rights and freedom of expression, or trade unions and urban slum dwellers fight for improved state services and a fairer distribution of wealth. Activists need to engage with new movements as they arise out of such slow processes, and at the same time remain alert to moments that allow for breakthroughs.

(p.87) In recent years the actions and courage of strong and cohesive non-violent civic coalitions have proven vital to the political transitions that presage state change. Since the 1980s, successive waves of civil society protest have contributed to the overthrow of military governments across Latin America, the downfall of Communist and authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the removal of dictators in the Philippines and Indonesia, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the upheavals of the Arab Spring. Effective tactics have included boycotts, mass protests, blockades, strikes, and civil disobedience.

Even the most repressive states cannot ignore such movements for long. Confucius wrote that every ruler needs arms, food, and trust, but that if any of these had to be forfeited, the first two should be given up before the last. Even unelected governments need a degree of trust to do their day-to-day work. Without it laws will more often be evaded and broken, taxes harder to raise, and information harder to gather. ‘Legitimacy’—when citizens accept the rights of states to rule over them—lies at the heart of the social contract between rulers and ruled.15 States’ desire to maintain or regain legitimacy provides activists with avenues for change even in apparently closed political systems.

In Liberia years of entrenched corruption had so eroded the public trust that even dire warnings about Ebola’s lethal contagion were seen as a cynical attempt to solicit and ‘eat’ international donations.16 Corruption and political sclerosis are not confined to developing countries of course: Fukuyama ends his history of the state with an impassioned denunciation of today’s US ‘vetocracy’, paralysed by vested interests. Left to fester, such decay resembles the build-up of pressures in the earth’s crust preceding an earthquake.

(p.88) Of course, for every Arab Spring there is often an Arab Winter, as forces of cohesion and disintegration slug it out. Systems are in constant flux and change is highly non-linear. Based on his observations in several Mexican municipalities, political scientist Jonathan Fox found state policy evolving through a cycle of conflict and cooperation: after a conflict would break out, more progressive local state officials would talk to the more approachable protest leaders, and a period of reform would ensue. When those reforms ran out of steam, or new issues emerged, conflict would flare up and the cycle would begin anew.17 Another political scientist, Sidney Tarrow, sees a similar dynamic of repression, partial victories leading to reform, and demobilization, repeating itself in Europe over the last two centuries.18

I use this model a good deal, because it neatly explains why struggles move between periods of conflict and cooperation. It also captures the fact that most political change happens through deals behind closed doors that seek to accommodate change and avert mass violence, even if protests and conflicts understandably draw our attention. The ‘political settlement’ that ended apartheid in South Africa and brought transition to non-racial democracy involved a wide range of pacts, deals, and ‘accords’ struck between major political forces, powerful economic interests, the labour movement, and civil society groups. Such deals reflect power, both visible and hidden, and activists need to be aware of the extent of their leverage and also be present, with access to decision makers at critical moments, even when decisions are made behind closed doors. Engaging in this way often provokes charges of legitimizing anti-democratic or untransparent processes, while refusing to engage entails missed opportunities. This issue generates a good deal of argument between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ activists, and will be discussed in Chapter 11. (p.89)

States in developing countries today

Nearly all developing countries reflect the dynamic interplay of ancient political traditions and those imposed by European colonizers. Each state is unique and any typology is inevitably unsatisfactory because particular states tick more than one box, move between categories over time, or because different elements within a state behave in different ways. Nevertheless, I find it helpful to think of today’s developing country states in three broad groupings: developmental states, patrimonial states, and fragile/conflict affected states.

Developmental states have an effective centralized state apparatus, geared primarily to generating economic growth. Many of them emerged where state institutions pre-date European takeover. Over the last fifty years, developmental states like South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia made huge strides growing the economy and reducing poverty; Ha-Joon Chang says that, for a development economist, growing up in 1960s Korea was like being a physicist present at the birth of the universe. The ‘Asian Tigers’ are closest to the classical description of the state set out by the German sociologist Max Weber, namely an efficient, merit-based civil service that manages to avoid capture by vested interests and guides the national economy in a process of sustained upgrading. Some observers include Botswana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Chile in the category.

As that list suggests, there is a problem. While aid donors laud the successes of developmental states in freeing their populations from poverty, human rights advocates condemn their repression of opposition and free speech. Going back to Amartya Sen’s definition, developmental states deliver only some kinds of ‘freedoms to do and to be’, while actively suppressing others.

Before everyone starts calling for a strong leader to impose order and deliver growth, it should be remembered that while some autocracies are developmental, many are not. Cross-country comparisons show that, on average, there appears to be no growth advantage (p.90) (or disadvantage) in being authoritarian. Autocracies do account for some of development’s success stories, but they have also been responsible for innumerable dismal failures. In Latin America, I saw the hyperinflation inflicted by military rule in the 1980s that went hand in hand with their cruel human rights abuses.

The quality of growth also varies. As systems, autocracies are distinguished from democracies by the paucity of feedback loops and constraints—a dictator dictates, after all. With untrammelled power, a leader can conduct necessary reforms, often leading to growth spurts, but should the situation change, or should they simply get it wrong, there is no-one who can force them to alter course. Economies under autocracies are thus characterized by booms and busts, whereas democracies, with their often exasperating degree of feedback and constraint, have historically proved better at avoiding the extremes, producing a smoother ride.19

The states I call ‘patrimonial’ bear very little resemblance to the Weberian ideal. They are deeply inefficient, with high levels of patronage and corruption, as officials and leaders put self and kin before citizens and country. The Pacific director of public works recalled one minister telling him that he was speaking at that meeting on that island, and that he wanted him to make sure that the diggers arrived while he was speaking. There were no road works under way, but he made sure the big yellow excavators arrived for the show. He has even set aside a small fund to pay for such pointless exercises in order to buy the political elbow room to get on with the real work.

Patrimonial states lie along a spectrum from vampire to ruminant: at one extreme, corrupt governments suck the blood out of the economy and give nothing back; at the other extreme, a degree of ‘eating’ does not rule out something useful emerging as a by-product.

The third grouping of ‘fragile and conflict affected states’ can barely control the national territory, or are wracked by conflict and violence. (p.91) There, nothing seems to work, public services are negligible, the rule of law practically nonexistent. Citizens do not even enjoy the basic right not to be shot by marauding gangs. Over the course of this century, such states will be home to an increasing proportion of the world’s people living in poverty and therefore a growing focus for aid agencies.

Activists may find the typology useful for identifying the appropriate change strategy. In fragile states, where power resides mostly outside the state, activists may be better off working at a local level, with municipal officials and non-state bodies like traditional leaders and faith groups. In developmental states, engaging directly with efficient bureaucracies, using research and argument rather than street protest, often makes for a better (and safer) influencing strategy than challenging politicians. In my experience, closed political systems are often more responsive to evidence than democracies, where political horse-trading dominates. In more patrimonial systems, the best influencing strategy may be to network directly with those in power, perhaps even joining the local golf club to chat up the civil servants and politicians there, as was recommended by one of Oxfam’s country directors in West Africa.

The world in which today’s states operate is also changing fast. In some ways, traditional nation states are becoming too small for the big things, and too big for the small things. The ‘big things’—problems without passports such as climate change, migration, international criminal networks, or tax evasion—have been pushed upwards to regional and global bodies such as the EU, African Union, or UN. For activists, this means working in international networks and/or within international organizations. The Paris climate change conference in 2015 succeeded in part because a large and influential network of NGOs and scientists worked well with proactive national delegations. I discuss this in a case study on the Paris Agreement on pages 171–175.

At the same time, ‘small things’ like public services and policing have been pushed downward to municipal and provincial levels. A few cities in Colombia or South Africa are starting to look like ‘municipal (p.92) developmental states’.20 Decentralization has opened up enormous possibilities for change, as we saw in Chapter 3 regarding the Chiquitanos of Bolivia. At local level, the balance of power between social movements, activist organizations, and the state is likely to be less unequal.

Aid-financed state reform

Over the last thirty years, aid agencies and international financial institutions have devoted considerable attention to reforming states in developing countries. Their efforts to bring about ‘good governance’ have restructured budgets and ministries, rewritten laws, and even spawned new institutions, but by and large they made little change to the way states operate. The economist Lant Pritchett talks about governments’ increasing skill at ‘isomorphic mimicry’—a term borrowed from biology, where it describes different organisms that evolve to look alike without actually being related.21

The lively conversation among aid donors, researchers, and activists regarding the failure of aid to bring lasting state reform was one of the prime motivators for this book. The discussion in networks with names like ‘Doing Development Differently’22 and ‘Thinking and Working Politically’23 has been rewarding and frustrating in equal measure: rewarding because I have learned a great deal from the assembled big brains about how states and aid systems do and don’t (p.93) work; frustrating because some of the issues dear to my heart (‘power within’, citizen activism, gender rights) are often pushed aside in favour of dissecting political deal-making at the top. (It has also been rewarding in a more direct sense—as part of the Thinking and Working Politically conversation, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade agreed to support the work that went into this book.)

One recurring theme of these conversations is that aid-financed state reform failed because Western donors tried to graft liberal-democratic and free-market institutions onto countries with very different traditions.24 Governments became adept at passing rules and creating institutions that look good on paper, but are in practice entirely cosmetic. At one point Uganda had the best anti-corruption laws in the world, scoring 99 out of 100 in one league table, yet came 126th in the 2008 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.

In contrast, countries that successfully reformed state institutions did not follow some Washington or London-decreed ‘best practice’. Instead, they created hybrid institutions that combine elements of traditional, nationally specific institutions with good ideas from outside. In fragile states, it seems, the facts that governments were less able or willing to pursue imported reforms and non-state institutions were relatively more powerful favoured the creation of locally-relevant hybrid institutions.25

One example comes from French-speaking West Africa, where the secular French-style school systems were losing Muslim students at an alarming rate to private religious schools. After vainly attempting to suppress the flourishing parallel world of private education, the governments of Mali, Niger, and Senegal decided instead to ‘go with the grain’ by bringing unofficial schools more squarely into the formal (p.94) state system and at the same time reforming the official system by introducing religious education in state schools.

Preliminary indications suggest that the hybrid schools are providing as good an education as the previous regime.26 According to Harvard’s Matt Andrews, such hybrid solutions are best devised by local stakeholders who understand the issue best. Rather than dictate solutions, outsiders should create opportunities for local actors to find their own.27

The success of hybrid institutions is what you would expect from a systems perspective. Systems are path dependent—each stage of evolution shapes the possibilities of the next. Activists working with the grain of systems need both to be keenly attuned to new institutional variants that emerge spontaneously (positive deviance), and to use their knowledge of history or experiences elsewhere to sow new variants in the institutional ecosystem. What does not work is trying to shoehorn in ‘best practice’ institutions from elsewhere.


States are complex systems, made up of families of institutions, each with its own history, procedures, and norms. Even the most apparently monolithic dictatorship is, on closer inspection, nothing of the sort. The solidity of presidential palaces and halls of the people is in fact ephemeral, built upon the shifting sands of legitimacy and events. When I lived in Argentina, the military dictatorship appeared impregnable, yet within two years two ‘critical junctures’ led to its downfall—hyperinflation eroded its middle class support and military defeat in the Falklands destroyed its aura of power.

(p.95) States exemplify the challenges of complexity. The interactions, alliances, and disputes between politicians and civil servants, between one ministry and another, or between different tiers of government, and how each of them in turn respond to citizen demand and other external pressures, provide the political landscape upon which decisions are made. Learning to ‘dance with the system’—understanding how the state in question evolved, how its decisions are made, how formal and informal power is distributed within it and how that distribution shifts over time—are essential tasks for any activist intent on making change happen.

Alongside the world of officials and ministries that constitute the administrative state, there are two additional institutional entry points for activists: the structures that administer justice and those that provide accountability. We turn to them now.

Further Reading

Bibliography references:

M. Andrews, The Limits of Institutional Reform in Development: Changing Rules for Realistic Solutions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

P. Chabal and J.P. Daloz, Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument (London: James Currey, 1989).

F. Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011).

F. Fukuyama, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014).

T. Hobbes, Leviathan (1651, published Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

A. Leftwich, States of Development: On the Primacy of Politics in Development (Cambridge: Polity, 2000).

B. Levy, Working with the Grain: Integrating Governance and Growth in Development Strategies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

M. Lockwood, The State They’re In: An Agenda for International Action on Poverty in Africa (London: ITDG Publishing, 2005).


(1) Shlomo Avineri, Hegel’s Theory of the Modern State (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974), p. 176.

(2) George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (London: Secker and Warburg, 1949).

(3) Duncan Green and Ha-Joon Chang, ‘The Northern WTO Agenda on Investment: Do As We Say, Not As We Did’, South Centre, 2003, www.ids.ac.uk/idspublication/the-northern-wto-agenda-on-investment-do-as-we-say-not-as-we-did.

(4) Matthew Lockwood, The State They’re In: An Agenda for International Action on Poverty in Africa (London: ITDG Publishing, 2005).

(5) Thomas Hobbes, De Cive, 1641, chapter 1, para 13.

(6) Geoff Mulgan, Good and Bad Power: The Ideals and Betrayals of Government (London: Allen Lane, 2006).

(7) Duncan Green, ‘Paul Collier on Post Conflict Reconstruction, Independent Service Authorities, How to Manage Natural Resources and the Hidden Logic of the G20 London Summit’, From Poverty to Power blog, 29 June 2009, http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/paul-collier-on-post-conflict-reconstruction-independent-service-authorities-how-to-manage-natural-resources-and-the-hidden-logic-of-the-g20-london-summit/.

(8) Francis Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), p. 19 and p. 328.

(9) Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide (London: Pelican, 2014).

(10) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ‘General Government Spending’, https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-government-spending.htm.

(11) Central Government Finances, ‘Expense’, World Development Indicators 2015.

(12) Francis Fukuyama, The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011). Francis Fukuyama, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014).

(13) Francis Fukuyama, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), p. 33.

(14) Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990–1990 (Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1990), p. 54.

(15) Claire Mcloughlin, ‘State Legitimacy’, DLP Concept Brief 02 (Birmingham: Developmental Leadership Program, 2014), http://publications.dlprog.org/Statelegit.pdf.

(16) Ashoka Mukpo, ‘Ebola Terrified Us a Year Ago. What Did It Teach Us About West Africa?’, Monkey Cage blog, The Washington Post, 7 August 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2015/08/07/ebolas-rapid-spread-terrified-us-a-year-ago-what-did-it-teach-us-about-west-africa/.

(17) Jonathan Fox, Accountability Politics: Power and Voice in Rural Mexico (New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2007).

(18) Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, 2nd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

(19) Tim Kelsall, ‘State of the Art: Authoritarianism, Democracy and Development’, The Developmental Leadership Program, 2014.

(20) Hugh Cole, ‘Are Progressive Cities the Key to Solving Our Toughest Global Challenges?’, From Poverty to Power blog, 2 September 2014, http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/are-progressive-cities-the-key-to-solving-our-toughest-global-challenges/.

(21) Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock, and Matt Andrews, ‘Capability Traps? The Mechanisms of Persistent Implementation Failure’, CGD Working Paper No. 234 (Washington DC: Center for Global Development, 2010).

(22) The DDD Manifesto Community, Doing Development Differently website, http://doingdevelopmentdifferently.com/.

(23) Adrian Leftwich, ‘Thinking and Working Politically: What Does It Mean, Why Is It Important and How Do You Do It?’ Document prepared for the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) Research Policy Workshop, 10–11 March, 2011, in Frankfurt, http://www.gsdrc.org/document-library/thinking-and-working-politically-what-does-it-mean-why-is-it-important-and-how-do-you-do-it/.

(24) David Booth and Diana Cammack, Governance for Development in Africa: Solving Collective Action Problems (London: Zed Books, 2013), p. 123.

(25) Michael Woolcock, ‘Engaging with Fragile and Conflict-Affected States’, CID Working Paper No. 286 (Cambridge, MA: Center for International Development, Harvard University, 2014), www.hks.harvard.edu/centers/cid/publications/faculty-working-papers/engaging-with-fragile-and-conflict-affected-states.

(26) Duncan Green, ‘Harnessing Religion to Improve Education in Africa’, From Poverty to Power blog, 6 July 2012, http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/harnessing-religion-to-improve-education-in-africa/. The reforms have not exacerbated gender imbalances. At primary school level, for example, girls outnumber boys, sometimes significantly.

(27) Matt Andrews, The Limits of Institutional Reform in Development: Changing Rules for Realistic Solutions (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).