State Building in Boom Times: Commodities and Coalitions in Latin America and Africa

ISBN : 9780199364954

Ryan Saylor
256 ページ
163 x 242 mm

State Building in Boom Times argues that commodity booms and coalitional politics are central to understanding the state building variation within and across Latin America and Africa. It shows how resource booms can trigger the provision of new public goods and institutional strengthening and thus help countries expand their state capacity. But these possibilities hinge on coalitional politics, as seen through six cases. Countries ruled by export-oriented coalitions (Argentina, Chile, and Mauritius) expanded their state capacity as a direct result of commodity booms. But countries in which exporters were politically marginalized (Colombia, Ghana, and Nigeria) missed analogous state building opportunities because ruling coalitions preyed upon export wealth, rather than promoting export interests via state building. The coalitional basis of these divergent outcomes suggests that, contrary to the prevailing belief in a resource curse, natural resource wealth does not necessarily dispose countries to low state capacity. Instead, export-oriented coalitions can harness boom times for developmental gains, even in the context of weak institutions. This finding warrants reappraising some widespread presumptions about the relationship between resource wealth and state building, as well as the public policies that are commonly proposed for developing countries to manage their natural resource wealth.


1. The Multiple Motives behind State Building in the Developing World
The Revenue Imperative and State Building in the Developing World
Alternative State Building Motives
Boom Times and State Building in Coalitional Perspective
Commodity Booms and State Building in Latin America and Africa
2. Boom Times, Coalitional Politics, and State Building
State Capacity, Public Goods, and Institutions: The Conceptual Terrain
A Coalitional Approach to State Building: The Theoretical Argument
Case Selection and Measurement
Alternative Hypotheses
3. Striking State Building due to Chile's Double Boom, 1848-1883
Chile at Mid-Century
The Revenue Imperative and Chilean State Building
Chile's Double Boom in Wheat and Copper
Public Goods Provided, but only to Ruling Coalition Members
An Opposition Enriched, Civil War, and Institution Building
Chile in 1883: A Precocious Latin American Leviathan
4. Seizing State Building Opportunities during Argentina's Wool Boom, 1852-1886
Argentina at Mid-Century
The Revenue Imperative and Argentine State Building
Argentina's Wool Boom
New Public Goods for Powerful Ranching Elites
Enriching Exports, Inter-Provincial Conflict, and Institution Building
Argentina in 1886: From Port City to Modern State
5. Sugar Exporters, New Public Goods, and State Building in Mauritius, 1825-1895
Initial Conditions in Mauritius, 1825
The Revenue Imperative and Mauritian State Building
The Sugar Boom and the Transformation of Mauritius
Public Goods Seeking and Mauritian State Building
Without a Diametrical Threat, Mediated Institutions Remain
Mauritius in 1895: New Public Goods and a Growth in State Capacity
6. Marginalized Coffee Exporters and Missed State Building Opportunities in Colombia, 1880-1905
Colombia in the Late Nineteenth Century
The Revenue Imperative and Colombian State Building
Colombia's Coffee Boom
Ostracized Coffee Exporters Fail to Obtain New Public Goods
A Non-Elemental Threat Obviates Institution Building
Persistent State Weakness in Colombia
7. Nationalist Politicians Squander State Building Opportunities while Fleecing Cocoa Exporters in Ghana, 1945-1966
Ghana at Mid-Century
The Revenue Imperative and Ghanaian State Building
Ghana's Postwar Cocoa Boom
The CPP Frustrates Exporters' Efforts to Obtain New Public Goods
The Persistence of Mediated Institutions in Postwar Ghana
Ghana in 1966: Illusory State Building and Low State Capacity
8. Exporters' Marginalization and the Persistence of Nigeria's Weak State, 1945-1966
Nigeria at Mid-Century
The Revenue Imperative and Nigerian State Building
The Agricultural Commodity Boom
Politically Marginalized Exporters Fail to Obtain New Public Goods
Institutional Decentralization to Placate Nationalist Elites
Nigeria in 1966: An Enervated State
9. Conclusion and Implications
Theoretical Implications
What Is the Resource Curse?
Policy Implications


Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Tulsa