Fragility, Aid, and State-building : Understanding Diverse Trajectories book cover
1st Edition

Fragility, Aid, and State-building
Understanding Diverse Trajectories

ISBN 9781138069718
Published October 9, 2017 by Routledge
156 Pages

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Book Description

Fragile states pose major development and security challenges. Considerable international resources are therefore devoted to state-building and institutional strengthening in fragile states, with generally mixed results. This volume explores how unpacking the concept of fragility and studying its dimensions and forms can help to build policy-relevant understandings of how states become more resilient and the role of aid therein. It highlights the particular challenges for donors in dealing with ‘chronically’ (as opposed to ‘temporarily’) fragile states and those with weak legitimacy, as well as how unpacking fragility can provide traction on how to take ‘local context’ into account. Three chapters present new analysis from innovative initiatives to study fragility and fragile state transitions in cross-national perspective. Four chapters offer new focused analysis of selected countries, drawing on comparative methods and spotlighting the role of aid versus historical, institutional and other factors. It has become a truism that one-size-fits-all policies do not work in development, whether in fragile or non-fragile states. This is should not be confused with a broader rejection of ‘off-the-rack’ policy models that can then be further adjusted in particular situations. Systematic thinking about varieties of fragility helps us to develop this range, drawing lessons – appropriately – from past experience.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly, and is available online as an Open Access monograph at

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Varieties of fragility: implications for aid Rachel M. Gisselquist  2. Disaggregating state fragility: a method to establish a multidimensional empirical typology Jörn Grävingholt, Sebastian Ziaja and Merle Kreibaum  3. Conceptualising state collapse: an institutionalist approach Daniel Lambach, Eva Johais and Markus Bayer  4. Towards a theory of fragile state transitions: evidence from Yemen, Bangladesh and Laos David Carment, Joe Landry, Yiagadeesen Samy and Scott Shaw  5. Aid and state transition in Ghana and South Korea Jiyoung Kim  6. Aid and policy preferences in oil-rich countries: comparing Indonesia and Nigeria Ahmad Helmy Fuady  7. Development assistance and the lasting legacies of rebellion in Burundi and Rwanda Devon E.A. Curtis  8. Aid, accountability and institution building in Ethiopia: the self-limiting nature of technocratic aid Berhanu Abegaz

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Rachel M. Gisselquist is a political scientist and currently a Research Fellow with UNU-WIDER. She works on the politics of the developing world, with particular attention to ethnic politics and group-based inequality, state fragility, governance, and democratization in sub-Saharan Africa. She holds a PhD from MIT.