State Fragility: Concept and Measurement
The international donor community has grave concerns about the prospects for poverty reduction in what it terms fragile states. A state is classified as fragile if its country policy and institutional assessment (CPIA) score falls below a particular threshold. Recognizing that all states are fragile to varying degrees, this paper questions the method used by the international community to deem a country fragile. This paper develops a framework that uses fuzzy-set theory to deem a country as fragile. Fuzzy sets allow for gradual transition from one state to another while also allowing one to incorporate rules and goals, and hence are more appropriate for measuring outcomes that are ambiguous. Such ambiguity is an inherent characteristic of cross-country fragility classifications. The paper applies its framework to 76 low-income countries, for which the CPIA data are publicly available. The fragile state group that this framework provides is compared to that which the international donor community has constructed.
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