The key thread that pulls together the four debates underlying our analytical framework is the centrality of states. The models of capitalism debate is concerned with the position of states within the triangular state-labour-capital/ business relationship, and with the appropriate agency of states in generating robust economic performance. Various strands of early and later development theory likewise focus on development models and strategies conceived primarily within a national framework, articulated and propelled by states. In globalisation debates within IPE, a crucial place is afforded to discussions of the evolution of states and the redefinition of state strategies and competencies in a situation of high capital mobility. The study of regionalism, finally, is concerned by definition with the study of state-led projects and with the evolution of political authority within and as a result of them. This is not intended necessarily to characterise any of these four debates as intrinsically ‘statist’ in their conceptual apparatus, or their empirical scope. Rather, it is simply to point out that questions about the nature and role of states lie at the heart of the contemporary political economy of development and the key debates that have emerged for the purposes of understanding it.