State Effectiveness


For a state to be effective, it must carry out a core set of governance capabilities that meet citizens’ expectations and earn public trust while setting the conditions for economic and market development. Effective and accountable states must also participate in a global community of nations, which is governed by shared international norms and standards. ISE works to refine concepts and frameworks for governance, economic and civic engagement, and international relationships.

State of the State


There is an urgent and universal need to develop an agenda and framework for reimagining the state’s ability to understand and meet evolving citizen expectations and help ensure a global order that works in the interests of all sectors of society. ISE’s State of the State initiative aims to reinvigorate a collective agenda on state effectiveness by listening to leaders and citizens alike to assess emerging global trends impacting the role of the state, build on the lessons of the last decade of reform and statecraft, and explore the ‘how-to’ of making the state more effective and legitimate. The overall goal of this multi-year dialogue is to design a forward-looking Agenda for the State for the next 10-15 years that can align the efforts of different stakeholders, bridge communities of practices, and help guide future policy and academic directions. Read more on ISE’s work on closing the gap between citizen expectations and what states deliver here.

Making States

In fragile or failing states, destitution and marginalisation prevent citizens from taking part in economic and political life, and large swathes of territory can fall under the control of militias. State-building is still a viable…

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The Case of Transformation in Mozambique

Mozambique is now one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. What were the key steps in its path from Civil War, through one party state system and centrally planned socialist economy, to multiparty constitutional democracy? How…

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Spain: From Dictatorship to Democracy, and Poverty to Prosperity

The story of how Spain transitioned from a military dictatorship to a situational monarchy with a Parliamentary democracy is widely known. This paper scrutinizes the deeper process: how Spain developed its national institutions to build…

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A Framework for a New Silk Road in Asia Report 1

The old Silk Road was not only a fixed route, but a constellation of rules, agreements, relationships and institutions that created an integrated economic and political system across Asia. The New Silk Road should similarly…

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A Framework for a New Silk Road in Asia Report 2

Just as ancient transcontinental trade networks generated prosperity, security and political stability in Asia, a 21st-century Silk Road could secure Asia’s future. The Asian continent is undergoing a great economic transformation that presents tremendous opportunities…

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