Over the past decade, the interest in aid effectiveness has grown exponentially, with a proliferation of both praxis-oriented evaluations and academic studies. At the same time, the rising interest in “fragile states” has prompted the aid-effectiveness literature to focus its attention on this category of states. Parallel to the development of the aid-effectiveness literature, the literature on the impact of specific development-aid sectors has also surged. The increasing number of analyses on the impact of external policies contributing to processes of political transformation (democratisation or stabilisation) has been remarkable. This discussion paper thematises the growing literature on both fragility and the effectiveness of democracy support, with a special focus on the quantitative literature. Its novelty lies in its contribution of drawing links between these different bodies of literature. In other words, how does the positive outlook of the quantitative literature – with regards to the general effectiveness of democracy-support policies – relate to a more complex definition of fragility? Relevant articles and books are identified and reviewed, whereby three to four central pieces are used to articulate the argument in each section.