State Formation in the Atlantic World

In my doctoral research at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and as a post-doctoral fellow associated with the project “State-Making and the Origins of Global Order in the Long 19th-Century” (STANCE) at Lund University (LU), I have studied processes of state formation in the West.

I am currently working on a book manuscript on the role of legislatures in the development of state capacity in Europe and the Americas. This manuscript is based on my PhD dissertation, which won the “Outstanding Dissertation Prize” from the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS).

I am also the PI (with Oriol Sabaté) for the project “The Politics of State Building: Studying Investments in State Capacity through Legislative Debates”, funded by the Swedish Research Council (2022-2025). In this project, we apply Natural Language Processing techniques on the transcripts of parliamentary debates in sixteen countries to study the drivers behind political decisions to increase the fiscal, coercive, administrative, and informational capacities of the state.

In other research, I have studied the development of information capacity (Brambor et al. 2020), the effects of war and geopolitical competition on fiscal capacity (Goenaga and von Hagen-Jamar 2018; Goenaga, Sabaté and Teorell 2023, and other working papers described below), and the impact of state capacity on long-term economic transformation.


Goenaga, Agustín, Oriol Sabaté and Jan Teorell. Forthcoming. “The State Does Not Live by Warfare Alone: War and Revenue in the Long Nineteenth Century in Europe and the Americas”, Review of International Organizations. Online First.

Brambor, Thomas, Agustín Goenaga, Johannes Lindvall, and Jan Teorell. (2020) “The Lay of the Land: Information Capacity and the Modern State”, Comparative Political Studies, 53(2), pp. 175-213. Data

Goenaga, Agustín and Alexander von Hagen-Jamar. “When Does War Make States? War, Rivalries and Fiscal Extraction in the 19th and 20th Centuries” in Bartelson, Jens, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell (eds.), De-Centering State-Making: Historical and Geographical Perspectives, London: Edward Elgar Press, 2018.

Working papers:

“Investing in Fiscal Capacity: Legislative Debates, Military Pressures and Taxation in the United Kingdom (1817-1939)”, with Oriol Sabaté, previous version available from the STANCE Working Paper Series

“The Social Origins of State Capacity:  Organizations, Institutions and Late Development”, previous version available from the STANCE Working Paper Series

“State Capacity beyond Executive Power”, previous version available from the STANCE Working Paper Series

“Do Military Rivalries Foster State-Building? Geopolitical Competition and Taxation in the Twentieth Century”, with Alexander von Hagen-Jamar, previous version available from the STANCE Working Paper Series

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