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The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence

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  • Besley, Timothy J.
  • Persson, Torsten

Abstract

This paper studies the incidence of civil war over time. We put forward a canonical model of civil war, which relates the incidence of conflict to circumstances, institutions and features of the underlying economy and polity. We use this model to derive testable predictions and to interpret the cross-sectional and times-series variations in civil conflict. Our most novel empirical finding is that higher world market prices of exported, as well as imported, commodities are strong and significant predictors of higher within-country incidence of civil war.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7101.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7101

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Keywords: commodity prices; conflict; natural resources; political institutions;

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  1. Ernesto Dal Bó & Pedro Dal Bó, 2011. "Workers, Warriors, And Criminals: Social Conflict In General Equilibrium," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 646-677, 08.
  2. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  3. Deininger, Klaus, 2003. "Causes and consequences of civil strife - micro-level evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3045, The World Bank.
  4. Brückner, Markus & Ciccone, Antonio, 2007. "Growth, Democracy, and Civil War," CEPR Discussion Papers 6568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  6. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "Repression or civil war?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33748, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  8. Jean-Paul Azam, 2006. "The Paradox of Power Reconsidered: A Theory of Political Regimes in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 26-58, March.
  9. 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.
  10. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  11. Silje Aslaksen & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "A Theory of Civil Conflict and Democracy in Rentier States," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 571-585, December.
  12. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas, 2006. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Working Papers 050623, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2006.
  13. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
  14. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2007. "International commodity prices, growth and the outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Working Papers 1053, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2009.
  15. Jack Hirshleifer, 1991. "The Paradox Of Power," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 177-200, November.
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