Colier-greed and grievance

Colier-greed and grievance - Public Disclosure Authorized...

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Greed and Grievance in Civil War Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler October 21st, 2001 Abstract We investigate the causes of civil war, using a new data set of wars during 1960-99. Rebellion may be explained by atypically severe grievances, such as high inequality, a lack of political rights, or ethnic and religious divisions in society. Alternatively, it might be explained by atypical opportunities for building a rebel organization. Opportunity may be determined by access to finance, such as the scope for extortion of natural resources, and for donations from a diaspora population. Opportunity may also depend upon factors such as geography: mountains and forests may be needed to incubate rebellion. We test these explanations and find that opportunity provides considerably more explanatory power than grievance. Economic viability appears to be the predominant systematic explanation of rebellion. The results are robust to correction for outliers, alternative variable definition, and variations in estimation method. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent. Public Disclosure Authorized
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2 1. Introduction 1 Civil war is now far more common than international conflict: of the 25 major armed conflicts listed by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute for 2000, all but two were internal. In this paper we develop an econometric model which predicts the outbreak of civil conflict. Analogous to the classic principles of murder detection, rebellion needs both motive and opportunity. The political science literature explains conflict in terms of motive: the circumstances in which people want to rebel are viewed as sufficiently rare to constitute the explanation. In Section 2 we contrast this with economic accounts which explain rebellion in terms of opportunity: it is the circumstances in which people are able to rebel that are rare. We discuss measurable variables which might enable us to test between the two accounts and present descriptive data on the 78 large civil conflicts that occurred between 1960 and 1999. In Section 3 we use econometric tests to discriminate between rival explanations and develop an integrated model which provides a synthesis. Section 4 presents a range of robustness checks and Section 5 discusses the results. We conclude that opportunities are more important in explaining conflict than are motives. A particularly powerful risk factor is dependence upon primary commodity exports. A likely explanation is the scope these activities provide for extortion by rebel organizations. Whether such extortion directly motivates rebellion, or simply makes viable the violent pursuit of other objectives, is beyond the scope of our paper.
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This note was uploaded on 05/24/2011 for the course ECON 488 taught by Professor Brunton during the Spring '11 term at James Madison University.

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Colier-greed and grievance - Public Disclosure Authorized...

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