Latecomer State Formation: Political Geography and Capacity Failure in Latin America
Latin American governments systematically fail to provide the key public goods for their societies to prosper. Sebastián Mazzuca argues this is because nineteenth-century Latin American state formation occurred in a period when commerce, rather than war, was the key driver forging countries. Latin American leaders pursued the benefits of international trade at the cost of long-term liabilities built into the countries they forged, notably patrimonial administrations and dysfunctional regional combinations.
Sebastián L. Mazzuca graduated in Political Science (MA, PhD) and Economics (MA) from the University of California at Berkeley and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Academy for International and Area Studies. His work focuses on state formation, regime change, and economic development. On state formation, he published the book Latecomer State Formation: Political Geography and Capacity Failure in Latin America with Yale University Press (2021). On political economy, he edited three volumes of essential readings with the Cámara Andina de Fomento (2015-18). On democratization, he co-authored Middle-Quality Institution Trap with Gerardo Munck (Cambridge University Press, 2020). His articles have been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, National Bureau of Economic Research, Studies in International Comparative Development, Journal of Democracy, Hispanic American Historical Review, Qualitative & Multi-Method Research, and the Oxford Handbook of Political Science.
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