Building Democracy and International Governance: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Building Democracy and International Governance

1st Edition

By George M. Guess


248 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Efforts by governments to promote sustained domestic economic development have been mixed. Success depends on many factors including location, geography, climate, external competition, human resources, natural resources, timing, political and governmental institutions, government capacity, implementation, leadership, values—and maybe luck. This complexity means that while development experts can often identify ingredients for success, few can prescribe the specific mix needed by a particular state to achieve sustained development over the long term.

In Building Democracy and International Governance, author George M. Guess uses both case studies and careful data analysis to argue that federalist democracy may just be the most responsive, authoritative, and flexible system for nation building, and that there is value in confronting the challenges that lie in exporting federalist democracy abroad. Guess demonstrates the ways in which federation structures provide positive redundancy against failures, flexibility to change course and implement programs and policies, and state legitimacy and strength. Examining twelve wealthy and developing countries from five regions, representing democratic and authoritarian government structures, confederations, and federations, this book will be of interest to those teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Political Development, Democratization, Federalism, and Comparative Political Economy.


"Building Democracy and International Governance by George Guess comes at an especially opportune time for advancing understanding about how democratic governance initiatives might be more effectively promoted around the world. Guess pours his treasure trove of knowledge about what it takes to establish and sustain effective government into the 230+ pages of this book. His expansive knowledge base has been built from his lifetime of scholarly attention to public budgeting, finance and management and given his extensive consulting and leadership on assistance projects to governments globally… Guess exposes the truly chaotic, complex and circular nature of state-building (or destroying), the many contraindications that can surface from aid intervention, and the possibilities for balancing government needs with donor needs when engaged in promoting democratic governance." -- Katherine Willoughby, University of Georgia, USA

"A compelling approach to how foreign aid should be refocused to support good governance in the league of the highest traditions of social science… Development practitioners will greatly benefit from these insights and see paths for overcoming the formidable challenges of development." – Stephen B. Peterson, University of Melbourne, Australia

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: The Need for Effective Government

2. Challenges to Effective Government: Ethnic-Nationalism, Populist Nationalism and Weak State Institutions

3. Wealthier State Populist Nationalism

4. Macroeconomic Instability

5. Inability of Both Wealthy and Poor Countries to Reduce Regional Inequalities

6. Governing Structures

7. Response to Governance Challenges: The Problem of Aid Design and Implementation

8. Aid as Stimulus for Democracy and Governmental Effectiveness

9. Targeting Aid to Threats Against Improved Governmental Effectiveness

10. Specific Problems with Design and Implementation of Aid

11. Summary and Conclusions

Appendix 1. Managing Development Projects in High Risk Environments: The Case of Pakistan

[George Guess and Dennis DeSantis]

About the Author

George M. Guess is Adjunct Professor in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Economic Policy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / International