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State vulnerability and the facets of development: Some lessons from transitional economies of South-East Europe


  • Valentin Cojanu


Purpose - The overlapping measures of “state vulnerability” prompt a double interrogation: about their methodological validity, and analytical relevance. Against this epistemic framework, the purpose of this paper is to ask whether the relentless quest for precision may prevent obtaining meaningful and realistic policy implications. Design/methodology/approach - This paper contrasts various theoretical views of “state vulnerability” and explores their applicability for the development processes in south-east Europe. The argument proceeds along a comparative analysis of three categories of variables, of political (i.e. government effectiveness), economic (i.e. macroeconomic performance) and institutional nature (i.e. human development) over the last decade and the usefulness of available early warning indicators is examined. Findings - The findings point to the supposition that “vulnerability” is an elusive concept despite many attempts at quantifying fragility of statehood. The success of quantitative studies to generate practical comparative data undoubtedly plays a helpful role in designing state-building trajectories although they must be seen in a broader context. Without a key breakthrough in the way datasets of quantitative and qualitative nature are combined, their actual effectiveness would be seriously diminished. Originality/value - The choice to favour investigative breadth over analytical depth is intended to let the conclusions come up in the guise of a complementary and summative account of the amassing amount of scholarship that leaves the phenomenon of development exposed to disparate accounts, at least as far as the thin balance between fragility and viability is concerned. Critical points in development pass less visibly and are less tractable to identifiable sources than a conventional perspective may suggest.

Suggested Citation

  • Valentin Cojanu, 2010. "State vulnerability and the facets of development: Some lessons from transitional economies of South-East Europe," International Journal of Development Issues, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 9(2), pages 131-145, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijdipp:v:9:y:2010:i:2:p:131-145

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Monika François & Inder Sud, 2006. "Promoting Stability and Development in Fragile and Failed States," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 24(2), pages 141-160, March.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
    3. Martin Malek, 2006. "State Failure in the South Caucasus: Proposals for an Analytical Framework," Transition Studies Review, Springer;Central Eastern European University Network (CEEUN), vol. 13(2), pages 441-460, July.
    4. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
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