Scholars of state development have paid insufficient attention to the question of regionalism; too often modeling state-building as the extension of the authority of a 'center' over peripheral territories, and too often linking regionalism to cultural or ethnic heterogeneity. A purely spatial account of the challenges to central control shows that even in the absence of cultural fractionalization, the presence of economically powerful and politically salient regions undermines political development. Three analytically distinct mechanisms - divergent public good preferences, economic self-sufficiency, and institutional design - underlie this relationship. I explore these issues through a region-wide analysis of Latin America, and case studies of the United States, Ecuador, Colombia, and early modern Poland.
Hillel David Soifer earned his PhD in the Government Department at Harvard, and is currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at Temple University. His research has been centered in Latin America, with a focus on political development and state capacity, and has been published in journals including Latin American Research Review and Comparative Political Studies. He is currently completing a book on the long-term divergence in state capacity in Latin America which contrasts the cases of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.