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Greed and grievance in civil war

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  • Collier, Paul
  • Hoeffler, Anke

Abstract

The authors compare two contrasting motivations for rebellion: greed and grievance. Most rebellions are ostensibly in pursuit of a cause, supported by a narrative of grievance. But since grievance assuagement through rebellion is a public good that a government will not supply, economists predict such rebellions would be rare. Empirically, many rebellions appear to be linked to the capture of resources (such as diamonds in Angola, and Sierra Leone, drugs in Colombia, and timber in Cambodia). The authors set up a simple rational choice model of greed-rebellion, and contrasts its predictions with those of a simple grievance model. Some countries return to conflict repeatedly. Are they conflict-prone, or is there a feedback effect whereby conflict generates grievance, which in turn generates further conflict? The authors show why such a feedback effect might be present in both greed-motivated and grievance rebellions. The authors'results contrast with conventional beliefs, about the causes of conflict. A stylized version of conventional beliefs would be that grievance begets conflict, which begets grievance, which begets further conflict. With such a model, the only point at which to intervene is to reduce the level of objective grievance. The authors'model suggests that what actually happens is that opportunities for predation (controlling primary commodity exports) cause conflict, and the grievances this generates induce diasporas to finance further conflict. The point of policy intervention here is to reduce the absolute, and relative attraction of primary commodity predation, and to reduce the ability of diasporas to fund rebel movements.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2355.

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Date of creation: 31 May 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2355

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Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies; Peace&Peacekeeping; Services&Transfers to Poor; Labor Policies; Economic Theory&Research; Social Conflict and Violence; Peace&Peacekeeping; Safety Nets and Transfers; Rural Poverty Reduction; Services&Transfers to Poor;

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References

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  1. Roubini, Nouriel & Swagel, Phillip & Ozler, Sule & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4553024, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Alesina, Alberto, et al, 1996. " Political Instability and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 189-211, June.
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  9. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  10. Buchanan, James M & Faith, Roger L, 1987. "Secession and the Limits of Taxation: Toward a Theory of Internal Exit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1023-31, December.
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  12. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  13. Grossman, Herschel I, 1999. "Kleptocracy and Revolutions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 267-83, April.
  14. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
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  1. The Complex Ties Among Poverty, Development, and Security
    by Terra Lawson-Remer in Development Channel on 2012-07-19 17:40:14
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