Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Erica Podrazik


The concept of state failure in the modern world is a comparatively new notion, which did not emerge until former colonial possessions in Africa and Asia, once fledgling states, seemed to be in decline. As governments collapsed and states fractured into civil war, the developed world looked on. Nearly twenty years after the fall of the USSR and the rise of state failure, scholars’ understanding of the causes of state weakness and state failure remains incomplete, and the policy literature’s orientation toward economic causes of weakness is more descriptive of weakness than insightful of its causes. This study seeks to gain greater insight into the causes of state weakness by assessing eight socio-economic, political, and geographic variables in the five post-Soviet Central Asian cases. While many of the results suggest greater insight into the political and geographic causes of state weakness, several strongly indicate a close relationship between state stability and the state’s degree of modernization and colonial experiences.