Building State Capability Evidence, Analysis, Action - Andrews, Pritchett and Woolcock, (2018)


This book uses a problem-driven iterative adaption approach to identify why governments lack the capacity to build effective states. It addresses specific weaknesses that hinder this ability by identifying capability traps particularly related to isomorphic mimicry and premature load bearing. It brings together the latest literature on policy implementation dynamics and recent experiences of practitioners in the field to outline a strategy that can overcome these problems in state-building. The book starts by outlining the lack of basic capacities many countries have despite institutional reforms. It then describes the capability traps that contribute to a lack of state capacity. These are: (1) isomorphic mimicry (where governments copy best practice solutions from other countries that make them look more capable) and (2) premature load bearing (where governments adopt new mechanisms that they cannot actually work, given weak extant capacities). The book describes how external actors can use PDIA to help governments to escape these capability traps.