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The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence

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  • Timothy J. Besley
  • Torsten Persson

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 emprical 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14585.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14585

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  1. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
  2. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2007. "International commodity prices, growth and the outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Working Papers, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra 1053, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2009.
  3. Pedro Dal Bó & Ernesto Dal Bó, 2004. "Workers, Warriors and Criminals: Social Conflict in General Equilibrium," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings, Econometric Society 642, Econometric Society.
  4. Silje Aslaksen & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "A Theory of Civil Conflict and Democracy in Rentier States," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 571-585, December.
  5. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "Repression or Civil War?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 292-97, May.
  6. Garfinkel, Michelle R. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2007. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier.
  7. 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.
  8. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  9. Deininger, Klaus, 2003. "Causes and consequences of civil strife - micro-level evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3045, The World Bank.
  10. Brückner, Markus & Ciccone, Antonio, 2007. "Growth, Democracy, and Civil War," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 6568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  12. 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), Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 26-58, March.
  13. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  14. 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.
  15. Jack Hirshleifer, 1991. "The Paradox Of Power," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 177-200, November.
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