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State Capacity Essay

  • Submitted by: jessicaaveryshaw
  • on August 28, 2013
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 1,708 words

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Below is an essay on "State Capacity" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Governments across the world cannot survive without the ability to implement policy. Throughout the history of Mexico as with many other countries, the function of policy implementation has been continuously challenged. Over the last decades Mexico’s state capacity has been put to the test on multiple occasions. Factors including the ‘Partido Revolucionario Institucional’ regime, drug cartels and high insecurity all are factors that seem to limit the ability of the Mexican state to carry it’s duties as a state; namely those of ensuring nation wide security and stability. As well as examining the abovementioned challenges to state capacity, this essay will pay specific attention to the consequences they hold for the further development of Mexico as a whole.


State capacity is one of the defining characteristics of any political system. By “state capacity”, I refer to the ability of a government to administer its territory effectively. (Skocpol 1985) The function and survival of a political system in the modern world of today depends on four basic state capacities: Extractive capacity, steering capacity, legitimation capacity, and coercive capacity.
Simply put, the term State Capacity is the ability of the state to wield power in order to carry out the basic tasks of providing security and reconciling freedom and equality.
-States that have a high capacity are able to formulate and enact fundamental policies and ensure stability and security for both it’s self as well as it’s citizens. In comparison a state that has a low capacity is unable to do these things effectively. High capacity requires not just money but also requires organization, legitimacy, and effective leadership. High capacity allows the building of schools, expansion of infrastructure, regulations are created and followed, and those who commit crimes are punished for it. In short, speaking of state power in terms of capacity gives a...

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