Journal Article

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

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collection.link.125
https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/4401
collection.name.125
C. Journal articles published externally
dc.contributor.author
Pritchett, Lant
dc.contributor.author
Woolcock, Michael
dc.contributor.author
Andrews, Matt
dc.date.accessioned
2013-05-10T20:16:09Z
dc.date.available
2013-05-10T20:16:09Z
dc.date.issued
2012-12-03
dc.date.lastModified
2021-04-23T14:03:08Z
dc.description.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 unlikely to be able to demonstrate actual success, yet billions of dollars continue to be spent on such activities. What techniques enable states to ‘buy time’ to enable reforms to work, to mask non-accomplishment, or actively to resist or deflect the internal and external pressures for improvement? How do donor and recipient countries manage to engage in the logics of ‘development’ for so long and yet consistently acquire so little administrative capability? We document two such techniques: (a) systemic isomorphic mimicry, wherein the outward forms (appearances, structures) of functional states and organisations elsewhere are adopted to camouflage a persistent lack of function; and (b) premature load bearing, in which indigenous learning, the legitimacy of change and the support of key political constituencies are undercut by the routine placement of highly unrealistic expectations on fledging systems. We conclude with some suggestions for sabotaging these techniques.
en
dc.identifier.citation
Journal of Development Studies
dc.identifier.issn
0022-0388
dc.identifier.uri
http://hdl.handle.net/10986/13374
dc.language.iso
en_US
dc.publisher
Taylor and Francis
dc.relation.ispartofseries
Journal of Development Studies;49(1)
dc.rights
CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IGO
dc.rights.holder
World Bank
dc.rights.uri
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/igo/
dc.title
Looking Like a State : Techniques of Persistent Failure in State Capability for Implementation
en
dc.type
Journal Article
en
okr.date.disclosure
2012-08-21
okr.doctype
Publications & Research :: Journal Article
okr.doctype
Publications & Research
okr.externalcontent
External Content
okr.globalpractice
Governance
okr.googlescholar.linkpresent
yes
okr.journal.nbpages
1-18
okr.language.supported
en
okr.peerreview
Academic Peer Review
okr.region.country
Haiti
okr.region.country
Liberia
okr.relation.associatedurl
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00220388.2012.709614
okr.theme
Public sector governance :: Administrative and civil service reform
okr.theme
Public sector governance :: Public expenditure, financial management and procurement
okr.theme
Public sector governance :: Other public sector governance
okr.topic
Governance :: National Governance
okr.topic
Public Sector Development
okr.volume
49(1)

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