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5/2011

DEPFID Working Papers - 5 / 2011 - Abstract

A fragile guideline to development assistance

Simone Bertoli* and Elisa Ticci**

The concept of fragility has gained an increasing relevance in the development discourse. Still, fragility remains a fuzzy and elusive concept. This paper presents a review of the literature, and it identifies two main sets of definitions of fragility, which substantially differ in their focus and breadth, and that reflect evolution of the discourse around this developmental concept. The limited consensus that is found in the literature suggests that the analytical salience and the direct operational value-added of this concept still remain unclear. Nevertheless the debate around state fragility played an important advocacy role, and it has offered key methodological insights with respect to the challenges that donors face, and on what it can be realistically achieved through external engagement.

Keywords:  state fragility, development assistance, aid effectiveness

JEL Classification: F35, H12, H56, D74

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Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to Luca Alinovi, Stefano Bartolini, Nicolò Bellanca, François Bourguignon, Giorgia Giovannetti, Sara Turchetti and Franco Volpi for their feedbacks on earlier drafts of this paper. The usual disclaimers apply.

* European University Institute, Florence, Italy
** DEPFID, University of Siena

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