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Armed State BuildingConfronting State Failure, 1898-2012$
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Paul D. Miller

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451492

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451492.001.0001

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The Myth of Sequencing

The Myth of Sequencing

(p.21) 2 The Myth of Sequencing
Armed State Building

Paul D. Miller

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes the “sequencing” theory of state building, arguing that there is no master sequence applicable to all failed states because different states fail in different ways. Sequencing is impractical for policymaking due to the complexity of interagency multinational operations, the uncertainties of budget processes, and the vagaries of policy implementation. Advocates of sequencing have never agreed about which sequence is correct, but they agree that there is one. There are three prominent versions of this theory that have appeared over the past two decades: “liberalization first,” “institutionalization first,” and “stabilization first.” Each has its own strengths and drawbacks, but all share crucial weaknesses. The chapter studies these theories and evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of each separately and as a whole.

Keywords:   sequencing theory, state building, policymaking, liberalization first, institutionalization first, stabilization first

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