Volatile Places, Volatile Times: Predicting Revolutionary Situations with Nations’ Governance and Fragility Indicators

O Venger, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
T D. Miethe, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


The current study examines the predictive validity of the World Bank’s World Governance Indicators (WGI) and the Fund for Peace’s Fragile States Index (FSI) in identifying the location and timing of revolutionary situations in 26 countries that have popular mobilization movements within the last two decades. The results of case comparative analyses provide some empirical support for both the WGI and FSI measures in predicting the timing of revolutionary situations (i.e., the year preceding the onset of mass protest was often one of the most “fragile” time period in a nation’s pre-revolutionary history). However, these aggregate measures have low predictive value in identifying the between-nation differences in their relative risks of having a revolutionary situation (i.e., revolutionary nations are not necessarily countries with the lowest scores on measures of misgovernance and fragility). Possible explanations for these findings and limitations of the current study are discussed in terms of their implications for future research. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht