State fragility and transparency

Nabamita Dutta (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA)
Sanjukta Roy (The World Bank, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Publication date: 5 September 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test the relationship between state fragility and transparency. A state is deemed fragile when it falters in its ability to manage conflict and in its capacity to deliver basic functions and implement public policy. Although minimizing fragility of the state is undoubtedly an integral component of economic development, there is a huge variation across countries in terms of where they stand with regard to fragility. Further, it also explores how educational attainment affects the relationship between state fragility and transparency.

Design/methodology/approach

Using several robust estimation methodologies and a relatively new database on transparency, the authors find that higher levels of transparency lower state fragility. They reply on fixed effect estimators, lagged one period and five periods and system GMM estimators as part of our identification strategy.

Findings

Using several robust estimation methodologies and a relatively new database on transparency, the authors find that a higher level of transparency lowers state fragility. Greater and free flow of information empowers the populace, restores trust in government, increases participation in the political arena and, thus, reduces state fragility. This paper additionally shows that higher educational attainment helps reap the benefits of transparency even more and, thus, catalyzes transparency to lower-state fragility more effectively.

Research limitations/implications

Our research shows that greater transparency leads to lower state fragility. Additionally, if the populace of the country has higher educational attainment, the benefits of transparency in reducing state fragility is enhanced. Although enhancing transparency amid high state fragility may be a challenging task, it can be achieved by providing the populace with better media access via internet and cell phones.

Originality/value

The authors use a relatively new database of transparency to show that transparency acts as an important determinant of state fragility. A state is deemed fragile when it falters in its ability to manage conflict and in its capacity to deliver basic functions and implement public policy. Given this definition, it is needless to say that what can affect state fragility and how can such fragility be lowered is an important research agenda. This paper aims to fill this gap. Additionally, it shows the importance of education while exploring such a relationship.

Keywords

Citation

Dutta, N. and Roy, S. (2016), "State fragility and transparency", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 202-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDI-06-2016-0034

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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