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How not to build a state: Evidence from Colombia

A major problem in many poor countries is lack of state capacity to control violence, enforce laws, tax and regulate economic activity, and provide public services. This column uses the example of Colombia to assess the effectiveness of top-down state-building strategies that prioritise military objectives ahead of all others. Such approaches may not only fail to develop other crucial aspects of state capacity, but may also lead to deteriorations in these incipient capacities.
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