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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The character of European states—their approaches to governance, the extent to which they penetrate and shape their societies—has changed radically over centuries. Today, European states continue to vary from one another across many fundamental dimensions. Some are nation states, other states are openly multinational. Some are unitary, others federal. Some command strong bureaucratic capacities, others struggle to collect taxes and keep roads paved. Some states operate impartial and effective systems of justice, while in others judicial systems are riven with corruption or hobbled by inefficiency. Some states intervene heavily in the economy, while others do so minimally. This chapter provides an overview of the contributions that historical institutionalist scholarship has made to our understanding of the origins, evolution and impact of the state in Europe.

Keywords: the state, historical institutionalism, Europe, European Union

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