The Spillover Effects of Country Fragility in Africa

Cassandra DiRienzo, Jayoti Das


With a focus on African countries, the purpose of this study is to test if country fragility, defined as  failing social, political, and economic systems, can spillover and ‘infect’ its neighbors. In other words, can failure in one country spillover and weaken the systems of its contiguous neighbor(s)?  This question extends previous research exploring negative country-neighbor contagion effects and the results are relevant to current debates regarding best strategies for building regional stability in Africa.  The spillover effect is tested using the Fund for Peace’s 2015 Fragile States Index (FSI), a broad measure of country fragility, and the Moran Index, a measure of spatial autocorrelation. The results of this analysis indicate that country failure has a significant spillover effect with its contiguous neighbors, which supports the policy shift some international aid organizations have made toward building regional resilience in Africa.  Specifically, policy makers have begun to consider responses to global crises that take a more regional, rather than national, perspective and the results of this analysis support this strategic policy shift.

Key Words: Weak States, Failed States, Spillover Effect, Country Neighbor Effects

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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