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Strategic Mass Killings

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  • Joan Esteban
  • Massimo Morelli
  • Dominic Rohner

Abstract

Since World War II there have been about fifty episodes of large-scalemass killings of civilians and massive forced displacements. They were usually meticulously planned and independent of military goals. We provide a model where conflict onset, conflict intensity and the decision to commit mass killings are all endogenous, with two main goals: (1) to identify the key variables and situations that make mass killings more likely to occur; and (2) to distinguish conditions under which mass killings and military conict intensity reinforce each other from situations where they are substitute modes of strategic violence. We predict that mass killings are most likely in societies with large natural resources, significant proportionality constraints for rent sharing, low productivity and low state capacity. Further, massacres are more likely in a civil than in an interstate war, as in the latter group sizes matter less for future rents. In non polarized societies there are asymmetric equilibria with only the larger group wanting to engage in massacres. In such settings the smaller group compensates for this by fighting harder in the first place. In this case we can talk of mass killings and fighting efforts to be substitutes. In contrast, in polarized societies either both or none of the groups can be ready to do mass killings in case of victory. Under the "shadow of mass killings" groups fight harder. Hence, in this case massacres and fighting are complements. We also present novel empirical results on the role of natural resources in mass killings and on what kinds of ethnic groups are most likely to be victimized in massacres and forced resettlements, using group level panel data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 459.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:459

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Related research

Keywords: Mass Killings; Civil War; Natural Resources; Intensity of Conflict; Gropu Size;

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References

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  1. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2009. "Beyond greed and grievance: feasibility and civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-27, January.
  2. Scully, Gerald W, 1997. " Democide and Genocide as Rent-Seeking Activities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(1-2), pages 77-97, October.
  3. Wayne Nafziger, E. & Auvinen, Juha, 2002. "Economic Development, Inequality, War, and State Violence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 153-163, February.
  4. Easterly, William & Gatti, Roberta & Kurlat, Sergio, 2006. "Development, Democracy and Mass Killings," CEPR Discussion Papers 5715, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Paul Collier & Dominic Rohner, 2008. "Democracy, Development, and Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 531-540, 04-05.
  6. Christopher Cramer, 2003. "Does inequality cause conflict?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 397-412.
  7. JoseG. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2008. "Discrete Polarisation with an Application to the Determinants of Genocides," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(533), pages 1835-1865, November.
  8. Andre, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-47, January.
  9. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  10. Beck, T.H.L. & Clarke, G. & Groff, A. & Keefer , P. & Walsh, P., 2001. "New tools in comparative political economy: The database of political institutions," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517, Tilburg University.
  11. Walter, Barbara F., 2006. "Information, Uncertainty, and the Decision to Secede," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 105-135, January.
  12. William Easterly & Roberta Gatti & Sergio Kurlat, 2006. "Development, democracy, and mass killings," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 129-156, June.
  13. Azam, Jean-Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2001. "Violence Against Civilians in Civil Wars: Looting or Terror?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  14. Päivi Lujala & Jan Ketil Rod & Nadja Thieme, 2007. "Fighting over Oil: Introducing a New Dataset," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(3), pages 239-256, July.
  15. Nils B. Weidmann & Jan Ketil Roslashd & Lars-Erik Cederman, 2010. "Representing ethnic groups in space: A new dataset," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(4), pages 491-499, July.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Minority protection and mass killings
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2010-06-21 14:57:00
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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2013. "The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 13.06, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  2. Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2013. "Seeds of distrust: conflict in Uganda," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 217-252, September.
  3. Laia Balcells, 2012. "Violence and Displacement in Civil War. Evidence from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)," Working Papers 603, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  4. Petros G. Sekeris, 2012. "The Tragedy of the Commons in a Violent World," Working Papers 1213, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  5. Giacomo De Luca & Petros G. Sekeris & Juan F. Vargas, 2011. "Beyond divide and rule: weak dictators, natural resources and civil conflict," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 008893, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  6. Laia Balcells, 2012. "Violence and displacement. Evidence from the Spanish civil war (1936-1939)," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 896.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Natural Resource Distribution and Multiple Forms of Civil War," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/33, European University Institute.

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