CES: Seminar on the State and Capitalism since 1800: State Capacity as Power


Friday, November 11, 2016, 2:15pm to 4:00pm


Adolphus Busch Hall, Hoffmann Room, 27 Kirkland St. Cambridge


** Please note: Those planning to attend events in this series should read the paper that will be posted on the CES website before the seminar.**


Johannes Lindvall

Professor of Political Science, Lund University; Visiting Scholar, CES, Harvard University

Yuhua Wang

Assistant Professor of Government, Harvard University


This paper reviews the growing literature on “state capacity” and proposes a new conceptualization of it. The paper argues that most existing definitions and theories of state capacity are too closely tailored to explaining a specific set of outcomes. The idea behind our own conceptualization is that state capacity can be defined as the strength of the causal relationship between the policies that governments adopt and the outcomes that they intend to achieve.