My project focuses on the relationship between war and the state bureaucracy. Unlike existing literatures, which only focus on how war would help build up state, my project examines the extent to which war might affect the quality of a state’s bureaucracy through quantitative analysis. I conclude that states that engage in lower-intensity wars will have higher quality bureaucracies, whereas those that fight war outside their own territories will have higher quality bureaucracies. In other words, states should avoid costly wars in order to improve their quality of bureaucracy.
These results show that the notion that we should “give war a chance” to create strong states is misleading. The quote “war made the state and the state made war” does not apply to the contemporary world as it did to the early-modern European context. This project can be viewed as a quantitative foundation for researches on this topic and leaves space for future qualitative analyses as well as studies focus on specific regions or country cases on similar topics. In addition, it can assist when forecasting changes in the quality of a state’s bureaucracy during wars and creating policies accordingly. Ultimately, this study might serve as a deterrent to some states when deciding whether to engage in costly wars.
Major: Political Science and German Studies double major
Hometown: Ningbo, China
Class year: 2020
Project Focus: The relationship between war and state’s quality of bureaucracy