This paper contributes to an empirical understanding of state formation. Based on an original household-level data set, we provide a detailed picture of the process of state formation in Afghanistan over the last decade. State formation happens when state and society engage in reciprocal relations. Central to this relationship is an exchange of services for the acceptance of authority and increased legitimacy. Our data allows us to assess state-society relations across different dimensions. We focus on the provision of services, on the responsiveness of the state, on conflict regulation and on taxation. As a result we find more evidence of state formation than expected, but also see this as a contested process that unfolds unevenly and with different speed across different sectors.
- State formation
- international development