This paper discusses and evaluates definitions and indexes of 'poor state performance' (PSP). The author suggests that most of these exhibit poor conceptual definition, huge conceptual dispersion and confusion between causes and definitions. Moreover, they contain an intrinsic ambiguity and a lack of awareness of the problem of order. By undertaking a detailed analysis of methods of coding and ranking countries according to poor state performance, the author concludes that such indexes can only provide a useful resource for researchers if their assumptions are carefully discussed and if they can express critical aspects of the concept which they seek to codify.
Working Paper No. 58 (series 2), London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 31 pp.