State Fragility and Structural Gender Inequality in Family Law: An Empirical Investigation
2. The Case of Afghanistan
“If we were asked why the two societies with which we have been concerned this evening—the Hindus on the one hand, and the Romans and all the races to which they have bequeathed their institutions on the other—have had so widely different a history, no reply can be very confidently given, so difficult is it, among the vast variety of influences acting on great assemblages of men, to single out any one or any definite number of them, and to be sure that these have operated more powerfully than the rest. Yet, if it were absolutely necessary to give an answer, it would consist in pointing to the difference in their social history which has been the subject of this lecture, and in observing that one steadily carried forward, while the other recoiled from, the series of changes which put an end to the seclusion and degradation of an entire sex”.(, pp. 340–41)
3. Family Law and State Stability
4. Family Law and State Stability: An Exploratory Empirical Analysis
5. Operationalization of Variables
- Overall literacy rate 2013. These rates were taken from the CIA World Factbook, and serve as an overall measure of economic development. Nation-states with higher levels of economic development may be more stable and less fragile than poorer states. Because GDP is a subcomponent of our two dependent variables, we could not use GDP as a predictor variable. Instead we used Literacy rate which, while highly correlated with GDP, avoids endogeneity. Furthermore, elsewhere we have argued that literacy rates might actually be a more sensitive measure of the degree of state development than level of wealth, especially if the focus of the research is the situation and status of women .
- Freedom in the world 2013. An annual survey and report by Freedom House since 1973, this scale measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and disputed territories around the world. It uses a seven-scale rating for political rights and civil liberties and the average of these two ratings is known as Freedom Rating . It has often been argued that democratic governance promotes state stability, and so we include it as a control variable.
- Huntington’s 1998 classification of civilizations. As previously mentioned, Samuel Huntington posited that certain civilizations were more prone to instability than others. As a result of our preliminary analysis showing that two of his civilizational blocs were not large enough to be statistically viable, we are using four rather than eight civilizations for our analysis, combining those with the fewest countries. See Table 1 for the categories used.
- Fragile States Index 2014. Created by the Fund for Peace, and originally called the Failed States Index, the Fragile States Index attempts to distinguish those nations for which internal and external pressures such as resource scarcity and conflict have led them to the point of disaster. It incorporates twelve primary social, economic and political indicators, uneven economic development, poverty and economic decline, state legitimacy, public services, human rights and rule of law . Literacy is generally associated with wealthy liberal democracies. Because GDP is one of the indicators used in the index, we substitute literacy rates as a proxy for GDP.
- Global Peace Index 2014. Created by the Institute for Economics and Peace, GPI ranks 161 countries according to their peacefulness. The index incorporates twenty-two indicators, qualitative and quantitative, which examine the internal stability and peacefulness of nation-states, including variables such as Number of external and internal conflicts fought, Level of organized internal conflict, Relations with neighboring countries, Political instability, Level of violent crime, Likelihood of violent demonstrations, and others . Again, because GDP is a subcomponent of this index, we use literacy rates as a proxy for GDP.
|Dependent variables||Fragile States Index 2014 (FSI)||Created by Fund for Peace; GDP is a sub-component||n = 170|
Mean = 70.738
Minimum = 18.7 (least fragile: e.g., Finland)
Maximum = 113.90 (most fragile: e.g., Somalia)
Global Peace Index 2014 (GPI)
|Created by the Institute for Economics and Peace; GDP is a sub-component||n = 161|
Mean = 2.066
Minimum = 1.189 (most peaceful: e.g., Iceland)
Maximum = 3.65 (least peaceful: e.g., Afghanistan)
|Independent variable||Inequity in Family Law coded by McDermott, 2011 (IFL)||0 = Very Equitable|
1 = Equitable
3 = Inequitable
4 = Very Inequitable
|n = 174|
|Control variables||Freedom Rating or Level of Democracy: Freedom House 2013(DEM7)||n = 174|
Mean = 3.55
Minimum = 1.0 (most free)
Maximum = 7.0 (least free)
|Literacy Rates: CIA World Factbook 2013||n = 169|
Mean = 0.84
Minimum = 0.00
Maximum = 1.00
|Civilizational Influence: Huntington collapsed (CIV)||n = 171|
6. Methods and Results
|Dependent Variable||Specified Models||Adjusted R2||n **|
|Global Peace Index 2014 (GPI)||GPI = IFL||0.296|
|GPI = Dem7 + IFL + Literacy + CIV||0.461|
|GPI = Dem7 + IFL *||0.435 *||162|
|GPI = Dem7 + IFL + Literacy||0.429|
|Fragile State Index 2014 (FSI)||FSI = IFL||0.570|
|FSI = Dem7 + Literacy + IFL + CIV||0.735|
|FSI = Dem7 + Literacy + IFL *||0.725 *||164|
|FSI = Dem7 + Literacy||0.683|
7. Discussion and Conclusions
Conflict of Interest
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Bowen, D.L.; Hudson, V.M.; Nielsen, P.L. State Fragility and Structural Gender Inequality in Family Law: An Empirical Investigation. Laws 2015, 4, 654-672. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4040654
Bowen DL, Hudson VM, Nielsen PL. State Fragility and Structural Gender Inequality in Family Law: An Empirical Investigation. Laws. 2015; 4(4):654-672. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4040654Chicago/Turabian Style
Bowen, Donna Lee, Valerie M. Hudson, and Perpetua Lynne Nielsen. 2015. "State Fragility and Structural Gender Inequality in Family Law: An Empirical Investigation" Laws 4, no. 4: 654-672. https://doi.org/10.3390/laws4040654