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Riding the Ever-Rolling Stream: Time and the Ontology of Violent Conflict

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  • Brown, Graham K.
  • Langer, Arnim
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    Abstract

    In this paper, we examine the ways in which the passage of time is dealt with in econometric studies of violent conflict and civil war with empirical attention to the dynamics of ethnic conflict. We argue that the mainstream approach to econometric studies of civil war is based on a time-invariant ontology and that this is not an appropriate or adequate way of capturing the causal patterns of violent conflict. Based analysis of replication datasets using structural break analysis and rolling windows, we show how careful attention to the passage of time reveals important macro-historical changes in the coefficients on ethnic diversity in explaining conflict incidence. We conclude that econometric studies of civil war need to pay more careful attention to the limitations on the generalizations that they draw through attention to the passage of time and better iteration with qualitative and historical studies.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 188-198

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:188-198

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    Keywords: Ethnicity Conflict Time Econometrics Ontology;

    References

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    1. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
    2. Arnim Langer, 2005. "Horizontal Inequalities and Violent Group Mobilization in Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(1), pages 25-45.
    3. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2003. "Religious polarization and economic development," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 201-210, August.
    4. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
    5. Davis, Richard A. & Lee, Thomas C.M. & Rodriguez-Yam, Gabriel A., 2006. "Structural Break Estimation for Nonstationary Time Series Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 101, pages 223-239, March.
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