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Local conflict in Indonesia : Measuring incidence and identifying patterns

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  • Barron, Patrick
  • Kaiser, Kai
  • Pradhan, Menno

Abstract

The widespread presence of local conflict characterizes many developing countries such as Indonesia. Outbreaks of violent conflict not only have direct costs for lives, livelihoods, and material property, but may also have the potential to escalate further. Recent studies on large-scale"headline"conflicts have tended to exclude the systematic consideration of local conflict, in large part due to the absence of representative data at low levels of geographic specification. This paper is a first attempt to correct for that. We evaluate a unique dataset compiled by the Indonesian government, the periodic Village Potential Statistics (PODES), which seeks to map conflict across all of Indonesia's 69,000 villages/neighborhoods. The data confirm that conflict is prevalent beyond well publicized"conflict regions,"and that it can be observed across the archipelago. The data report largely violent conflict in 7.1 percent of Indonesia's lowest administrative tier (rural desa and urban kelurahan). Integrating examples from qualitative fieldwork, we assess issues in the measurement of local conflict for quantitative analysis, and adopt an empirical framework to examine potential associations with poverty, inequality, shocks, ethnic and religious diversity/inequality, and community-level associational and security arrangements. The quantitative analysis shows positive correlations between local conflict and unemployment, inequality, natural disasters, changes in sources of incomes, and clustering of ethnic groups within villages. The institutional variables indicate that the presence of places of worship is associated with less conflict, while the presence of religious groups and traditional culture (adat) institutions are associated with conflict. We conclude by suggesting future areas of research, notably on the role of group inequality and inference, and suggest ways to improve the measurement of conflict in the village census.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3384.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3384

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Related research

Keywords: Services&Transfers to Poor; Post Conflict Reconstruction; Public Health Promotion; Education and Society; Peace&Peacekeeping; Post Conflict Reconstruction; Education and Society; Social Conflict and Violence; Rural Poverty Reduction; Services&Transfers to Poor;

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References

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  1. Demombynes, Gabriel & Ozler, Berk, 2002. "Crime and local inequality in South Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2925, The World Bank.
  2. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  3. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
  4. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  5. Miguel, Edward A. & Gertler, Paul & Levine, David I., 2003. "Did Industrialization Destroy Social Capital in Indonesia?," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt9kt2m860, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  6. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2002. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2002-01, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
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