State Capacity: What Is It, How We Lost It, And How To Get It Back

State capacity refers to the government’s ability to do its job effectively: to raise taxes, maintain order,
and provide public goods. A series of calamities during the 21st century—the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina,
the financial crisis, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic- all indicate the erosion of state capacity. A recent report by the Niskanen Centre (2021) discusses the same.

“The decline in state capacity since the 1960s can be traced to two distinctive but mutually reinforcing intellectual movements. One occurred on the political right while the other is associated mainly with the left. Both represent dysfunctional responses to America’s longstanding (and well-founded) fears of centralized power. On the right, healthy suspicion of rapid government expansion has given way to a toxic contempt for government and public service per se. On the left, efforts to expand “citizen voice” in government as a check on abusive power have produced a sclerotic “vetocracy” that makes effective governance all but impossible.”

Bold policy changes on many fronts are needed to bring back dynamism and inclusive prosperity.

Click here to read the full report.

Posted by at 8:20 AM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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