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Accepted Paper:

Do public services increase the state’s legitimacy? Studies from Pakistan and Nepal  
Aoife McCullough (London School of Economics) Antoine Lacroix (Overseas Development Institute) Clare Cummings (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

A mixed-methods study which sought to examine the basis of legitimating beliefs about the state. Quantitative findings indicated that basic services matter, but only in certain circumstances. The qualitative research revealed the extent to which identity influences interpretations of state actions.

Paper long abstract:

We interrogate whether improvements in state performance increase the state’s legitimacy by drawing on survey data and case studies in conflict-affected areas of Pakistan and Nepal. We focus on service delivery and economic growth, two types of performance commonly assumed to enhance legitimacy in conflict-affected areas. Using panel survey data, that was representative at the subnational level, we found that satisfaction with basic services can result in improved perceptions of state legitimacy but this was not guaranteed. In Nepal, we found that people who benefitted materially from a growing economy or state support for their livelihood were more likely to perceive the state as legitimate. However, the case studies indicated that people do not just base their evaluations of the state on material benefits. Rather state actions were judged on their impartiality, respect and morality, and interpreted through broader class and identity narratives.

Panel P18b
Governance at the margins: Understanding public authority in FCVAS II
  Session 1 Wednesday 30 June, 2021, -