The Risk of Civil Conflicts as a Determinant of Political Institutions
AbstractThis paper proposes a specific mechanism to explain differences in political institutions based on the asymmetric and uncertain costs of civil conflicts. Asymmetry implies that the net benefit of fighting an insurgency is not shared equally by members of the elite. But uncertainty implies that these benefits are more evenly distributed ex-ante. The members of the elite face a commitment problem: they would like to commit in advance to a strong response to insurgencies, but ex-post they have the incentives to block any response if the conflict mainly affects other members of the elite. One way of solving this is empowering the executive so he may react forcefully to conflicts, despite the opposition of some fraction of the elite. In the model this group has to decide on the constraints imposed on the executive. Fewer constraints lead to a higher risk of expropriation. But more constraints lead to a suboptimal response to conflicts. The main prediction is that, conditional on asymmetric and uncertain costs, the higher is the likelihood of a civil conflict in the future, the lower are the constraints imposed on the executive. The paper empirically validates this implication using two types of evidence. First, it uses a sample of former colonies that became independent after WWII and geographic variables to identify the exogenous component of the likelihood of civil conflicts at the moment of the independence. Second, the model is used to explain the political events in the Americas after independence. Countries less prone to internal conflicts were the ones that imposed more constraints on the executive during the second half of the nineteenth century.
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 InfoPaper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 649.
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
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.:
- Brückner, Markus & Ciccone, Antonio, 2008.
"Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
6691, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2009. "Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity," Working Papers 2009-38, FEDEA.
- Markus Brückner, 2010. "Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity," 2010 Meeting Papers 224, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Markus Bruckner & Antonio Ciccone, 2010. "Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity," Working Papers 1010, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
- Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2008. "Rain and the democratic window of opportunity," Economics Working Papers 1114, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2009.
- Marcelo J. Moreira, 2003. "A Conditional Likelihood Ratio Test for Structural Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1027-1048, 07.
- North,Douglass C. & Wallis,John Joseph & Weingast,Barry R., 2009.
"Violence and Social Orders,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521761734, December.
- Ray, Debraj, 2010.
"Uneven Growth: A Framework for Research in Development Economics,"
CAGE Online Working Paper Series
05, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
- Debraj Ray, 2010. "Uneven Growth: A Framework for Research in Development Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 45-60, Summer.
- Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1998.
"Why did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality and Growth in Historical Perspective,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1797, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
- Bates, Robert H. & Coatsworth, John H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2007. "Lost Decades: Postindependence Performance in Latin America and Africa," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(04), pages 917-943, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Claudio Sepulveda).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.