Seth Kaplan

School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Seth D. Kaplan is a professorial lecturer in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. He teaches, writes, and consults on issues related to fragile states, governance, and development. He is the author of Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development, and his upcoming book Betrayed: Politics, Power, and Prosperity will be published in November 2013.

A Wharton MBA and Palmer scholar, Kaplan has traveled extensively doing research in over 60 countries, and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. He has published widely on development issues in publications such as The Washington Quarterly, Orbis, Policy Review, Journal of Democracy, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and International Herald Tribune.

Kaplan also manages the online Fragile States Resource Center.

Featured Work

CREDIT: <a href="">Africa Renewal</a> (<a href="">CC</a>)

MAY 21, 2014 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: 3 Tools for Turning Fragile States into Inclusive Societies

In Seth Kaplan's new book he identifies three tools for successful development in fragile states: social cohesion, an inclusive ideology, and incentives for elites.

CREDIT: <a href="">Map of Syria</a> via Shutterstock

SEP 4, 2013 Article

Seven Scenarios for the Future of Syria

"Now that the country has imploded, there is no easy way out." Seth Kaplan outlines possible futures for Syria, followed by a list of recommended ...

CREDIT: <a href="">Akshay Mahajan</a> (<a href="">CC</a>).

JUN 3, 2013 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: What the World Bank Does Not Understand About "Doing Business"

The World Bank's research on Doing Business fails to focus on the obstacles that matter most to entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

CREDIT: <a href="">U.S. Marine Corps</a> (<a href="">CC</a>).

APR 9, 2013 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: Social Covenants Must Precede Social Contracts

Fragile states that do not first forge a social covenant will later find it difficult to codify justice in a social contract.

Tapestry map by <a href="">Alighiero Boetti</a>.

NOV 5, 2012 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Innovations: Forecasting the Future of Countries

Measuring how countries develop is all the rage, but are these indicators examining the most appropriate data? Seth Kaplan says it's time we start looking ...

CREDIT: <a href="" target="_blank">Sean Vranizan</a> (<a href="" target="_blank">CC</a>).

JUL 27, 2012 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: Do Language Policies Contribute to Poverty and Underdevelopment?

In least developed countries, language policy should aim to increase education, productivity, and cohesion, yet many countries have policies that work against these aims.

CREDIT: <a href="">Shawn Leishman</a> (<a href="">CC</a>).

MAY 29, 2012 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Innovations: City Development States: Why Lagos Works Better than Nigeria

With a national government plagued by corruption and poisoned by dependence on oil money, state- and city-led development may be the best way for Nigeria ...

CREDIT: <a href="">World Bank</a> (<a href="">CC</a>).

MAR 12, 2012 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Innovations: Do World Bank Country Classifications Hurt the Poor?

The incoming World Bank president should create a more sophisticated system for classifying countries as low or middle income, using broad development indicators.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Photo <br>by <a href="">James Gordon</a> (<a href="">CC</a>).

MAY 27, 2009 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: What's Wrong with Diplomacy in Damascus

The Obama administration has reversed former President George W. Bush's isolationist policies toward Syria, but has little to show for it. The government will need ...

CREDIT: Abdurrahman Warsameh, <a href="">ISN Security Watch</a> (<a href="">CC</a>).

FEB 18, 2009 Article

Policy Innovations Digital Magazine (2006-2016): Commentary: Discard the Top-down Strategy in Somalia

Instead of repeatedly trying to foist a Western style top-down state structure on a deeply decentralized society, the international community should work with Somalia's long-standing ...