The Tragedy of Failure: Exploring the Utility of Existing Models of State Failure in an Effort to Develop a More Precise Typology and More Accurate Predictions of State Collapse

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Politics & International Affairs: Abstract Book


Athens Institute for Education & Research

Publisher Location

Athens, Greece


The humanitarian implications of state collapse are pervasive and enduring--its onset represents the catalyst for refugee crises and the spread of war, poverty, disease and terrorism. What, if anything can be done to forestall or mitigate such failures and the security threats that accompany them? I argue that the first step in tackling state failure is working to anticipate and prevent the event. Thus, developing a theoretically driven causal model of state failure is necessary if scholars are committed to improving the predictive power and forecasting ability of early warning models of state failure. Building upon the work of the State Failure Project and earlier statistical models of state failure, this study develops a causal model of state failure that is based upon a theoretical foundation that satisfies the parsimonious condition which policy forecasting models typically rely upon. The statistical model of state failure developed for this analysis extends the work of previous models by developing an alternative definition and measurement of state failure and introduces factors that are appropriate for making predictions and establishing causation. More precise predictions are the key to preventing the tragedy of state failure, which has long-lasting and devastating consequences for the state, its people, and the global community.

Controlled Subject

Failed states; Politics and government; International relations


International Law | Politics and Social Change