The Fragile States Index (formerly known as the Failed States Index) is based upon the CAST methodology which was initially designed by Dr. Pauline Baker during the 1990s when she was at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, prior to Dr. Baker’s appointment as the President of The Fund for Peace. The development of the framework was done in collaboration with the U.S. Army Peacekeeping Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The model framework was first presented in Parameters, a peer-reviewed journal, in 1996. Since then, both the CAST framework and methodology, as well as the Failed States Index, have been the subject of various studies.Herein we attempt to collate as many studies of both the CAST methodology and the Fragile States Index, including positive, critical, and all points in-between. No framework, methodology, or Index is perfect, and we encourage lively debate on the various aspects of our work.If you or your institution has published a substantive review or study of either the CAST methodology or the Failed States Index, we encourage you to Contact Us.

A CAST Case-Study: Assessing Risk in the Niger Delta

Nate Haken, Patricia Taft, and Raphael Jaeger in Handbook of Computational Approaches to Counterterrorism, ed. V.S. Subrahmanian

Springer, 2013

Handbook of Computational Approaches to Counterterrorism provides the first in-depth look at how advanced mathematics and modern computing technology is shaping the study of terrorist groups. This book includes contributions from world experts in the field, and presents extensive information on terrorism data sets, new ways of building such data sets in real-time using text analytics, introduces the mathematics and computational approaches to understand terror group behaviour, analyzes terror networks, forecasts terror group behaviour, and shapes policies against terrorist groups. Auxiliary information will be posted on the book’s website.

The Failed State Index Offers More than Just a Simple Ranking

Lars Carlsen, Rainer Bruggemann

Social Indicators Research, 2012

The role of indicators to measure trends in every area of interest is increasing. Especially in the field of politics and sociology, where modeling based on multiple indicators typically is difficult, multi-indicator systems call for attention. Multi-indicator systems are most often the first step to derive a ranking indicator. Correspondingly there is a high interest in how to transform multi-indicator systems into a one-dimensional metric scale. The scientific discipline of decision support systems provides many well-known techniques, classical examples are PROMETHEE, ELECTRE, DEA or the simple TOPSIS. The mathematical technique is pretty sophisticated, therefore the simplest variant, namely the weighted sum of indicators plays its role too, just because of its simplicity and transparency. Although the need of a derivation of a one-dimensional scale is evident, we argue that there is an interim step, between the multi-indicator system and the ranking index, provided by simple elements of partial order theory. This interim step bears useful information too and in this paper we show how and which useful additional information can be derived. We derive for example a bias-free sensitivity study, where the indicator “chronic and sustained human flight” turns out to be the most important indicator within the multi-indicator system of 12 indicators, which are the basis of the Failed State Index.

Failed States: Unstable Countries in the 21st Century

Matthew Bukovac

Rosen, 2011

Fragile States: The Role of Social, Political, and Economic Factors

C.S.C. Sekhar

Journal of Developing Societies, 2010

A state is defined as “failed” or “fragile” when it is unable to perform its core functions and displays vulnerability in the social, political, and economic domains. To identify the determinants of state fragility, an econometric analysis has been carried out to explain vulnerability in the economic, political, and social sectors of a country in a structural simultaneous equations framework. Failed States Index (FSI) data of 149 countries for the year 2007 has been used. The results support the hypothesis that there is a great degree of simultaneity in the vulnerability in these three domains and together they determine a country’s fragility/stability. It is seen that social vulnerability impacts political and economic vulnerability significantly, whereas political vulnerability has a definite effect on social vulnerability but not on economic vulnerability. Economic vulnerability has a limited effect on the vulnerability in the other two spheres – in the sense that a single dimension alone (either income level or income inequality but not both) appears to impact vulnerability in the social and political domains. The insignificant effect of political vulnerability on economic vulnerability is surprising. One plausible explanation is that political vulnerability may lead to economic vulnerability with a lag, while this study is based on data at a single point in time. However, further research is needed on this aspect. The broad policy implication of the study is that, to rebuild capacity in highly fragile or failed states, priority should be accorded to addressing social vulnerability through immediate political measures, followed by long-term initiatives to promote economic development.

Peace-Building in Weak States: A U.S. Global Imperative

Marcus C. Black

Army War College Carlisle Barracks, 2010

There has been growing international concern about the threat to global security posed by failed and failing states since the beak-up of the Soviet Union, but the concern has become even more acute since the events of September 11, 2001. Terrorists and a host of other transnational threats operate from the safe havens of weak states. If they are left unchallenged, they will continue to threaten American interests around the world. Peace-building is a method that can be used effectively by the international community to manage the complex problem of dealing with critically weak states. What are the implications for future U.S. peace-building strategy in confronting this growing global challenge? This paper attempts to answer this question by describing the threat posed by failed and failing states, characterizing the key aspects of failed and failing states, defining peace-building, placing the evolution of United States peace-building policy in historic context, and discussing the implications of this threat for future peace-building policy.

A Survey of Composite Indices Measuring Country Performance

Romina Bandura

United Nations Development Program, 2008

The following document presents an update of the November 2006 survey of country indices that rank or assess countries according to some economic, political, social or environmental measure. The present update includes new indices launched between end-November 2006 and end-February 2008 and adds indices omitted in the previous surveys.

Fragility, Instability, and the Failure of States: Assessing Sources of Systemic Risk

Monty G. Marshall

Council on Foreign Relations, 2008

This study examines the dimensions of state and system failures within the context of development, conflict, and governance. In surveying the risk factors identified through systematic inquiry and research, it seeks to improve the prospects for successful preventive action and conflict management. This treatment diverges somewhat from the conventional approach outlined by John Davies and Ted Robert Gurr, which distinguishes between structural indicators and risk assessment models and dynamic indicators and early warning models. It builds on more recent work that tends to view structure and agency as essential and inseparable factors in complex, adaptive systems analysis. The main focus of this examination, then, is on risk assessment and early warning models for proactive conflict management at the global level of analysis. It discusses a three-tiered structure in the development of global systems research and modeling that includes conditional and causal factor models, predictive models, and general risk and capacity models.

Conflict and Security Indices: A Summary of Open-Source Data

Nada J. Pavlovic, Kristen Blackler, and David R. Mandel

Defence Research and Development Toronto, 2008

This DRDC Toronto technical memorandum contains summaries of a select number of widely used conflict and security indices freely available as open-source databases on the World Wide Web. It provides a succinct description and purpose of each project, information about the supporting organization, principal investigators, data sources used, temporal coverage, the number of countries included, indices/variables, methodology, web link, and data format. The summaries represent a focused extension of DRDC Toronto Technical Report 2008-167, which aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of open-source databases accessible via the Internet that are meant to be used as guides for international investors, official aid donors, policy makers, analysts, academia, and other information seekers looking to exploit conflict-and security-related open-source information. The following databases of indices and indicators are included: Bertelsmann”s Transformation Index, Corruption Perceptions Index, Democracy Rank, Failed States Index, Fragile States Index, Freedom in the World Index, Freedom of the Press Index, Global Competitiveness Index, Global Peace Index, Human Development Indicators, Index of Economic Freedom, Minorities at Risk, Political Terror Scale, Polity IV Project — Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions 1800-2006, Polyarchy and Contestation Scales, Press Freedom Index, and World Governance Indicators.

Fixing Failing States: The New Security Agenda

Pauline H. Baker

Journal of Diplomatic and International Relations, 2007