Civil war, public goods and the social wealth of nations
AbstractThis paper establishes and explores the implications of a somewhat surprising empirical finding. Although civil war adversely affects the performance of social indicators in general, poorer countries lose less, in absolute and relative terms, than richer countries. It is argued that the explanation may lie in the extent to which richer countries have better social (and economic) indicators because of more public goods, and adaptation of economic and social mechanisms to the greater abundance of public goods such as physical infrastructure. Civil war destroys public goods, and therefore damages disproportionately the countries most dependent on them. A further implication of this framework is that the post-conflict rebound in social indicators should be relatively stronger in poorer countries. The data bear out this prediction. Our results should not of course be read as implying that poorer countries need less support to avoid civil war and to cope with its aftermath. Although their losses are less, they start from a lower base; so even small declines severely impact human well-being. Properly understood, our results highlight the central role that public goods play in underpinning the social (and economic) wealth of nations.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Oxford Development Studies.
Volume (Year): 32 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CODS20
Other versions of this item:
- Pottebaum, David & Kanbur, Ravi, 2001. "Civil War, Public Goods and the Social Wealth of Nations," Working Papers 127670, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
- Kanbur, Ravi & Pottebaum, David, 2002. "Civil War, Public Goods and the Social Wealth of Nations," CEPR Discussion Papers 3124, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- O10 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Psacharopoulos, George & Arriagada, Ana Maria, 1989. "The Determinants of Early Age Human Capital Formation: Evidence from Brazil," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(4), pages 683-708, July.
- David Aschauer, 1988.
"Is public expenditure productive?,"
88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997.
"Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
- Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
- Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1997.
"Explaining African economic performance,"
CSAE Working Paper Series
1997-02.2, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Antonio Estache, 1994. "World Development Report: Infrastructure for Development," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/44144, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993.
"Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
- William Easterly & Sergio Rebelo, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 4499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Frances Stewart, 1993. "War and underdevelopment: Can economic analysis help reduce the costs?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(4), pages 357-380, 07.
- Kakwani, N., 1993. "Performance in living standards : An international comparison," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 307-336, August.
- Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
- Frances Stewart & Frank Humphreys & Nick Lea, 1997. "Civil conflict in developing countries over the last quarter of a century: An empirical overview of economic and social consequences," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(1), pages 11-41.
- Peter Kennedy, 2003. "A Guide to Econometrics, 5th Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 5, volume 1, number 026261183x.
- Hertz, Erica & Hebert, James R. & Landon, Joan, 1994. "Social and environmental factors and life expectancy, infant mortality, and maternal mortality rates: Results of a cross-national comparison," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 105-114, July.
- Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2005.
"Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Policy in Europe,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5058, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2004. "Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Policy in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1230, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2004. "Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Policy in Europe," NBER Working Papers 10680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kanbur, Ravi & Pottebaum, David, 2002.
"A Note on Public Goods Dependency,"
127275, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.