A paper by Tim Besley entitled "State Capacity, Conflict and Development" (joint with Torsten Persson) will be published in Econometrica.
In this paper, the authors point out that the absence of state capacities to raise revenue and to support markets is a key factor in explaining the persistence of weak states. They report on an on-going project to investigate the incentive to invest in such capacities. The paper sets out a simple analytical structure in which state capacities are modelled as forward looking investments by government. The approach highlights some determinants of state building including the risk of external or internal conflict, the degree of political instability, and dependence on natural resources. Throughout, the authors link these state capacity investments to patterns of development and growth.