Collier-BeyondGandG-08

Collier-BeyondGandG-08 - Beyond Greed and Grievance:...

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Unformatted text preview: Beyond Greed and Grievance: Feasibility and Civil War Paul Collier , Anke Hoeffler , and Dominic Rohner Department of Economics, University of Oxford Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, and Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge May, 2008 Abstract A key distinction among theories of civil war is between those that are built upon motivation and those that are built upon feasibility. We analyze a comprehensive global sample of civil wars for the period 1965-2004 and subject the results to a range of robustness tests. The data constitute a substantial advance on previous work. We find that variables that are close proxies for feasibility have powerful consequences for the risk of a civil war. Our results substantiate the 'feasibility hypothesis' that where civil war is feasible it will occur without reference to motivation. 2 1. Introduction Over the past half-century civil war has replaced international war as the most prevalent form of large-scale violence. Once started, civil wars are hard to stop: they persist for more than ten times as long as international wars. Their consequences are usually dire, being massively destructive to the economy, to the society, and to life itself. The prevention of civil war is therefore rightly seen as one of the key priorities for international attention. Informed strategies of prevention must rest upon an analysis of what makes situations prone to civil war. Precisely because in any particular violent conflict the issue is highly politicized, with supporters off each side proffering a litany of self-serving explanations, the public discourse is hopelessly contaminated by advocacy. The issue is thus particularly well-suited to statistical analysis of global data. This approach both abstracts from any particular conflict and subjects the researcher to the discipline of statistical method. This approach to establishing the factors which make a country prone to civil war was pioneered in Collier and Hoeffler (1998, 2004). Since those papers, the literature, the data, and our own thinking have all advanced considerably. In the present paper we revisit the issue, replicating, overturning, and extending our earlier results. The foundation for serious quantitative analysis of civil war was laid by political scientists at the University of Michigan, the university that pioneered much quantitative political analysis, who carefully built a comprehensive global data set on civil wars, the Correlates of War Project (COW). Using this data set, its variants and now its rivals, economists and political scientists have begun to analyze the factors that might account for the onset of conflict (Collier and Hoeffler, 1998, 2004; Fearon and Laitin, 2003; Miguel, Satyanath and Sergenti, 2004). Quantitative analysis based on global data sets has its own severe limitations imposed by data constraints and so should be seen as complementing qualitative in-country research rather than...
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Collier-BeyondGandG-08 - Beyond Greed and Grievance:...

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