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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-scale mass 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 conflict 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 European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2010/23.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2010/23

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Keywords: Mass Killings; Civil War; Natural Resources; Intensity of Conflict; Group 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. William Easterly & Roberta Gatti & Sergio Kurlat, 2006. "Development, democracy, and mass killings," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 129-156, June.
  3. Paul Collier & Dominic Rohner, 2008. "Democracy, Development, and Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 531-540, 04-05.
  4. Easterly, William & Gatti, Roberta & Kurlat, Sergio, 2006. "Development, Democracy and Mass Killings," CEPR Discussion Papers 5715, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
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  7. 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, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(4), pages 491-499, July.
  8. Christopher Cramer, 2003. "Does inequality cause conflict?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 397-412.
  9. Wayne Nafziger, E. & Auvinen, Juha, 2002. "Economic Development, Inequality, War, and State Violence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 153-163, February.
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  11. 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.
  12. Azam, Jean-Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2001. "Violence Against Civilians in Civil Wars: Looting or Terror?," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  13. 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.
  14. Sang Hoo Bae & Attiat Ott, 2008. "Predatory Behavior Of Governments: The Case Of Mass Killing," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 107-125.
  15. JoseG. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2008. "Discrete Polarisation with an Application to the Determinants of Genocides," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(533), pages 1835-1865, November.
  16. Walter, Barbara F., 2006. "Information, Uncertainty, and the Decision to Secede," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 105-135, January.
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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. Petros G. Sekeris, 2014. "The tragedy of the commons in a violent world," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(3), pages 521-532, 09.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2013. "The Geography of Inter-State Resource Wars," NBER Working Papers 18978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Natural Resource Distribution and Multiple Forms of Civil War," Economics Working Papers, European University Institute ECO2010/33, European University Institute.

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