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State Building in Latin America

$33.99 (C)

  • Date Published: October 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107518407

$ 33.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • State Building in Latin America diverges from existing scholarship in developing explanations both for why state-building efforts in the region emerged and for their success or failure. First, Latin American state leaders chose to attempt concerted state- building only where they saw it as the means to political order and economic development. Fragmented regionalism led to the adoption of more laissez-faire ideas and the rejection of state- building. With dominant urban centers, developmentalist ideas and state-building efforts took hold, but not all state-building projects succeeded. The second plank of the book's argument centers on strategies of bureaucratic appointment to explain this variation. Filling administrative ranks with local elites caused even concerted state-building efforts to flounder, while appointing outsiders to serve as administrators underpinned success. Relying on extensive archival evidence, the book traces how these factors shaped the differential development of education, taxation, and conscription in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.

    • Explores both why national leaders pursue building state capacity, and the factors determining whether those efforts succeed or fail
    • Provides an extensive historical data collection on education, taxation, conscription, and local administration in four Latin American countries
    • Combines ideational, geographic, and institutional theory into a unified account
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "State Building in Latin America can only be described as a magisterial book. Soifer provides both a rich theoretical explanation for why states develop or not and then presents a wealth of data to support his claims. Bringing in the political origins and consequences of bureaucratic recruitment links it to the best work in a Weberian tradition. Important for both those interested in state development and students of the region."
    Miguel Angel Centeno, Princeton University, New Jersey

    "The biggest obstacle to public goods delivery around the world is not authoritarianism but state weakness. In a model example of comparative-historical social science, Hillel Soifer traces subtle contemporary variations in Latin American state capacity to fascinatingly divergent historical constellations of political geography, ideology, and strategy. Buoyed by original theorizing and buttressed by a wealth of qualitative and quantitative evidence, State Building in Latin America is a book that will last."
    Dan Slater, University of Chicago

    "This book is a major contribution to our understanding of state-building in Latin America. Soifer shows, as no one else has, that state-building outcomes depended on both early decisions to build the state and the fate of these efforts when undertaken. The explanation neatly combines factors emphasizing ideology and political choices with those stressing the centrality of urban centers during the liberal era. The overall account offers powerful generalizations while simultaneously remaining sensitive to the particularities of state building in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru."
    James Mahoney, Gordon Fulcher Professor in Decision-Making, Northwestern University, Illinois

    "Variations in state capacity in Latin America boil down to whether state agents, charged with implementing state policy, are recruited centrally and deployed rather than delegated or recruited among local elites. This, in short, is the argument that Temple University political scientist Hillel David Soifer puts forward in State Building in Latin America, an ambitious, wide-ranging, and well-written book."
    Paulo Drinot, Current History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107518407
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 39 b/w illus. 29 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the origins of state capacity in Latin America
    1. The emergence of state-building projects
    2. A theory of state-building success and failure
    3. Alternative historical explanations and initial conditions
    4. State projects, institutions, and educational development
    5. Political costs, infrastructural obstacles, and tax state development
    6. Local administration, varieties of conscription, and the development of coercive capacity
    7. Conclusion.

  • Author

    Hillel David Soifer, Temple University, Philadelphia
    Hillel Soifer is an assistant professor of Political Science at Temple University, Philadelphia. His research has been published in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Studies in Comparative International Development and the Latin American Research Review. He was awarded the 2013 Alexander George Award for Best Article by the Qualitative and Multi-Method Section of the American Political Science Association, and has served as the Peggy Rockefeller Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, Massachusetts.

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