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A theory of civil conflict and democracy in rentier states

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  • Silje Aslaksen

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Ragnar Torvik

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

The effects of resource rents on the political equilibrium have been studied in two main types of models. The first tradition employs models of conflict, and studies how resource rents affect the intensity and duration of civil conflict. The second tradition employs political economy models, where resource rents affect the political equilibrium because the costs and benefits of buying votes change. Although providing much insight, a primary disadvantage of these two model traditions is that they have little to say about when democracy emerges, and about when conflict emerges. This question is simply determined by the type of model one chooses to study. Yet an important empirical literature suggests that a main effect of resource rents may be exactly that it affects the political choice between democracy and civil conflict. In this paper, by integrating the earlier model traditions, we suggest the simplest possible framework we can think of to study this choice. The institutional outcome in our theory is consequently endogenous. We show how factors such as resource rents, the extent of electoral competition, and productivity affect economic and political equilibria, and discuss how our approach, mechanisms and results differ from the earlier theories.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in its series Working Paper Series with number 5805.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 15 May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:5805

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Keywords: Political economy; Resource curse; Endogenous democratic institutions;

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References

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  1. Pranab Bardhan & Tsung-Tao Yang, 2004. "Political Competition in Economic Perspective," Development and Comp Systems 0407009, EconWPA.
  2. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene, 2002. "Battlefields and Marketplaces," Development and Comp Systems 0210001, EconWPA.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Kleptocracy and Divide-and-Rule: A Model of Personal Rule," NBER Working Papers 10136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Politcal Foundations of the Resource Curse," DELTA Working Papers 2003-33, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. 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.
  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," CEPR Discussion Papers 2277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Olsson, Ola, 2007. "Conflict diamonds," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 267-286, March.
  8. Tullock, Gordon, 1975. "On the Efficient Organization of Trials," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 745-62.
  9. Skaperdas, Stergios, 1996. "Contest Success Functions," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-90, February.
  10. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," NBER Working Papers 8831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Torvik, Ragnar, 2002. "Natural resources, rent seeking and welfare," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 455-470, April.
  13. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  14. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Jacopo Costa & Raul Caruso & Roberto Ricciuti, 2012. "The Probability of Military Rule in Africa, 1970-2007," Working Papers 17/2012, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  2. Nasrollahi Shahri, Nima, 2010. "Natural resource wealth “a truly double edged sword?”: a comparative study between Iran and Norway," MPRA Paper 25639, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Dibeh, Ghassan, 2008. "Resources and the Political Economy of State Fragility in Conflict States: Iraq and Somalia," Working Paper Series RP2008/35, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 005, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Frederick Van der Ploeg, 2010. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3125, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Kjetil Bjorvatn & Alireza Naghavi, 2010. "Rent seekers in rentier states: When greed brings peace," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 039, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  7. Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Naghavi, Alireza, 2011. "Rent seeking and regime stability in rentier states," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 740-748.
  8. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2006. "Challenges and Opportunities for Resource Rich Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 5688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2010. "Aid and Conditionality," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  10. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:8:y:2008:i:2:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS

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