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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Three different analytic approaches have informed studies of development: modernization theory, institutional capacity, and rational choice institutionalism. For modernization theory, areas of limited statehood would become smaller and smaller over time. For institutional capacity approaches, areas of limited statehood might become smaller over time, but only if the capacity of the state increases, which might or might not happen. Rational choice institutionalism suggests that areas of limited statehood would be normal for most polities. Governance might be provided in areas of limited statehood by actors other than the national state, but only if such service provision does not threaten the position of rulers. If islands of excellence are created by actors other than the national state in areas of limited statehood, they will remain isolated islands that will not diffuse to other parts of the polity where they might be a threat to rulers.

Keywords: modernization theory, institutional capacity, rational choice, governance, islands of excellence

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