Why the history of frontier states still matters today
Present-day state capacities can be shaped profoundly by historical processes of state formation. In the current issue ofGovernance, Roberto Stefan Foa and Anna Nemirovskaya examine how the distinctive histories of “frontier states” — like the United States, Canada, Russia and Brazil — influence state capacities today. “Frontier zones have ongoing lower levels of public order and public goods provision,” the authors find. They explain why settlers resisted attempts to impose governance over frontier regions, opting instead for lower fiscal capacity and more limited provision of public goods. Read the article.