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State Transitions from Rigidity to Fragility and Failure: The Case of Middle East and North Africa

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Ali Hamid E.,
Project Ethnic Power Relations and Conflict in Fragile States
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal International Journal of Public Administration
Volume (Issue) 41(10)
Page(s) 765 - 771
Title of proceedings International Journal of Public Administration
DOI 10.1080/01900692.2017.1387150


The taxonomy of the state’s effective governance capacity present in the literature is evolving around state fragility. However, this article argues that a state moves along the state transition curve, resulting in governance capacity variations over time. It begins as a fragile state, consolidating to becoming a vibrant state, only to embark, eventually, on a downward trajectory through phases of rigidity, decaying, and fragility, before becoming a failed state. About one-third of MENA (Middle East and North Africa) countries are either fragile or failed states. Only technological change and knowledge accumulation and diffusion can shift this curve upward, thereby increasing a state’s effective governance capacity.