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State Fragility: Concept and Measurement

  • Baliamoune-Lutz, Mina N.
  • McGillivray, Mark

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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Paper provided by World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) in its series Working Paper Series with number RP2008/44.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2008-44
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  1. Baliamoune-Lutz, Mina N., 2004. "On the Measurement of Human Well-being: Fuzzy Set Theory and Sen's Capability Approach," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2001. "Can the World Cut Poverty in Half? How Policy Reform and Effective Aid Can Meet International Development Goals," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1787-1802, November.
  3. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 1999. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2041, The World Bank.
  4. Torres, Magui Moreno & Anderson, Michael, 2004. "Fragile States: Defining Difficult Environments For Poverty Reduction," PRDE Working Papers 12822, Department for International Development (DFID) (UK).
  5. Mina Baliamoune-Lutz & George Mavrotas, 2009. "Aid Effectiveness: Looking at the Aid-Social Capital-Growth Nexus," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(s1), pages 510-525, 08.
  6. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
  7. Branchflower, Andrew & Hennell, Sarah & Pongracz, Sophie & Smart, Malcolm, 2004. "How Important Are Difficult Environments To Achieving The Mdgs?," PRDE Working Papers 12821, Department for International Development (DFID) (UK).
  8. Mark McGillivray, 2010. "Aid Allocation and Fragile States," Working Papers id:3062, eSocialSciences.
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