Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Committee Member

Tiffiany Howard

Second Committee Member

Michele Kuenzi

Third Committee Member

Jonathan Strand

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Parker

Number of Pages



The start of the twenty-first century has coincided with the emergence of the concept of state failure as a major humanitarian and security concern. While the occurrence of state failure has received much attention, there has been little agreement on the actual definition and conceptualization of state failure. This study intends to aid in the improvement on the discourse of state failure by providing a new approach on failed states that analyzes shifts in state fragility. In this new approach, this study focuses on the occurrence of state success and explain how states succeed by focusing on the fulfillment of the different classes of obligations states are expected to complete under the modern interpretation of the nation-state. To show utility of this study’s conceptualization on the driving factors behind state success and state failure, a multinomial logit analysis is conducted that tests possible determinants of success and failure against occurrences of transitions for states based off their level or fragility risk. Findings from the analysis reveal a strong causal relationship between the completion of state obligations and occurrences of state success. A noteworthy finding from the analysis is the very influential relationship between the providing of human developmental public goods, including education and health care, and the occurrence of state success.


State Behavior; State Failure; State Obligations; State Success


Political Science

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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