The Princeton Conference on Statebuilding and Political Development

March 25, 2022

On March 3-4, 2022, Melissa M. Lee, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs and Niehaus Center faculty affiliated, hosted The Princeton Conference on Statebuilding and Political Development. The Conference was held at Prospect House.

The conference description is as follows:

The study of the state lies at the core of political science. The territorial state is the constitutive unit of the international system. State power structures social and economic life for millions of people around the world. Yet the state’s power, presence, and reach into the lives of its populations varies considerably. In some countries, such as Germany and the United States, state authority is so pervasive that it has a taken-for-granted quality. In other countries, such as Afghanistan and Somalia, the state’s authority is limited, absent, or violently contested. In between the poles is considerable variation in the quality of state institutions, the way the state exercises power, and who can access the state and its resources. What explains this variation? How did the processes of state- and nation-building produce this variation? How did today’s strong states monopolize authority, construct institutions, and expand their regulatory reach against resistance from societal actors?

The Princeton Conference on Statebuilding and Political Development brought together scholars to discuss cutting-edge research on these questions. Papers presented at the conference addressed a range of topics related to state development, from the role of violence in the construction of political order, the state’s role in providing public goods such as education, the legacy of colonialism on statebuilding, and the factors that influence bureaucratic effectiveness.