State Failure

Posted: 6 Jun 2008

See all articles by Robert Bates

Robert Bates

Harvard University - Department of Government


State failure is characterized by government predation and the militarization of civic society. Drawing on data from the study of civil war, state failure, and violence, this article explores the roles of per capita income, ethnicity, and democratization. It argues that public revenues are more relevant to state failure than are private incomes; that several configurations of ethnic groups can lead to violence; and that state failure is far more likely in intermediate democracies than in full democracies or aristocracies.

Keywords: civil war, ethnicity, democracy

Suggested Citation

Bates, Robert, State Failure. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 11, June 2008, Available at SSRN:

Robert Bates (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-0919 (Phone)
617-496-6849 (Fax)

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