2019, University of Michigan Press
At the nexus of political science, development studies, and public policy, Developing States, Shaping Citizenship analyzes an overlooked driver of political behavior: citizens’ past experience with the government through service provision. Using evidence from Zambia, this book demonstrates that the quality of citizens’ interactions with the government through service provision sends them important signals about what they can hope to gain from political action. These interactions influence not only formal political behaviors like voting, but also collective behavior, political engagement, and subversive behaviors like tax evasion. Lack of capacity for service delivery not only undermines economic growth and human development, but also citizens’ confidence in the responsiveness of the political system. Absent this confidence, citizens are much less likely to participate in democratic processes, express their preferences, or comply with state revenue collection. Economic development and political development in low-capacity states, Hern argues, are concurrent processes.
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