Correlates of State Failure

Pamela Surko and Alan N. Unger

In response to a request from a senior Clinton Administration official, the CIA established the State Failure Task Force in 1994, a group of researchers from academe, nonprofit institutions, non-intelligence-agency government, and industry tasked to evaluate unclassified historical data to search for correlates of governmental instability. The study amassed data by country by year from 1955 onward for hundreds of demographic, societal, economic, political and environmental indicators, along with an expert assessment for each country-year of whether the country was stable, or had suffered an instability identified as regime crisis, ethnic war, genocide, or revolution. The Task Force has done many analyses; the original tasking was to identify correlates of failure and to attempt to predict globally, two years before onset, which countries would suffer a state failure. Some results of various studies may be found in [ES98] and [ES99].

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