Parties, Governments and Elites

Part of the series Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft pp 205-226


Strong Presidents for Weak States. How Weak State Capacity Fosters Vertically Concentrated Executives

  • Jessica Fortin-RittbergerAffiliated withPolitikwissenschaft, Universität Salzburg Email author 

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The link between a strong state and democratic institutions is becoming a well-established finding. Despite mounting empirical evidence mapping the existence of such a connection, very few contributors have been able to propose a mechanism through which this dynamic operates, hence thwarting attempts to establish a causal direction. This chapter attempts to fill this gap by linking post-independence levels of state capacity with the strength of presidents, an institutional feature already hypothesized to have strong effects on democratization efforts. Using 26 post-communist countries over the period 1989-2009, I argue that state capacity, understood as ‘the institutional capacity of a central state, despotic or not, to penetrate its territories and logistically implement decisions’ (Mann 1993: 59) affects democratization processes by shaping the level of concentration of power in the hands of executives.