A statistical procedure for representing state fragility and transition paths
State fragility is a concept that entered the political discourse in the last decades producing remarkable implications for aid allocation and international policies. The operationalization of this concept has generated a number of composite indices to produce rankings of fragile states. However, the temporal dimension of the driving forces leading to fragility has been rather neglected. This article discusses a statistical procedure that helps to represent the global fragility of a country and the path that a country has followed or will follow in the future when possibly entering into (or escaping from) a fragility condition. Specifically, multiple factor analysis is applied to depict vulnerable and weak countries, and to identify the fundamental forces that determine their overall fragility. Moreover, the trajectories of countries along the years are estimated using partial factor scores. Finally, the path of each country is predicted by means of parsimonious regression models, based on a reduced set of explanatory variables, and according to scenarios elaborated from available international outlooks.