The last two decades have seen a significant increase in the number and quality of cross-national measures of institutions, which are also covering longer and longer time spans. However, despite the considerable progress that has been made, important measurement issues linger. This chapter argues that the key future challenge for the measurement of institutions is how to square objective or directly observable sources of information with subjective or expert perceptions that only measure institutions indirectly. The chapter discusses this issue in relation to two examples: the literature on measuring democracy (a formal institution), and the one on measuring corruption (an informal institution). The conundrum in both these literatures is that whereas objective measures are typically preferred in order to avoid endogeneity bias (the possibility that either the putative cause or consequence of the institution affect the measure itself), subjective measures are as a rule better at capturing the complex reality of most institutions. The way forward for the measurement of institutions proposed here is therefore to explicitly model the data-generating process underlying expert perceptions.
Jens Bartelson and Jan Teorell
In this concluding chapter, we first provide a thematic summary of the contributions to this volume from the perspective of their temporal and geographical de-centering. We then explore in more depth how they address three key challenges in the literature on state making: how to (1) conceptualize the state; (2) theorize state making; and (3) how to bridge comparative and international perspectives. We conclude by sketching the contours of a new emerging agenda for research on states and their making. In brief, we argue for the need to conceptualize the state as both a materialist and ideational variable; not only to theorize war-centric but also other drivers of state making; and for taking a historical perspective.
Bo Rothstein and Jan Teorell
Edited by Jens Bartelson, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell
Jens Bartelson, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell
This introduction outlines the main problem areas addressed by this volume. In academic international relations, comparative politics and historical sociology, the study of state making has traditionally been focused on the emergence of states in early modern Europe. The introduction makes the case for a de-centering of the study of state making, by shifting its focus to other historical and geographical contexts. It also elaborates on the preconditions for such de-centering, by discussing how the anachronism and Eurocentrism widespread within this field are best overcome. The authors conclude that this is best accomplished by aligning the concerns of comparative politics and international relations more closely, by moving beyond the tendency to accord primacy to warfare when explaining the making of states, and, finally, by overcoming the divide between materialistic and ideational approaches to state making. This is followed by a brief overview and discussion of individual contributions.