With the benefit of almost 20 years of hindsight, in this article we evaluate the legacy of state-building in Timor-Leste. We find that much of the academic critique of the state-building mission has proven to be largely accurate: political and economic development has indeed been challenged by the legacy of key decisions made during the early state-building process. First, the focus on centralised state institutions has led to the underdevelopment of administrative, political, and economic decentraliza-tion. Second, the partisan nature of the constitution-making process has facilitated the continued concentration of political and economic power in the hands of certain elites. Third, the ambiguousâ€”and at times conflictualâ€”division of powers between state institutions has facilitated the emergence of political clientelism and undermined broad-based economic diversification and development.