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Insurgency and credible commitment in autocracies and democracies

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  • Keefer, Philip

Abstract

This paper suggests a new factor that makes civil war more likely: the inability of political actors to make credible promises to broad segments of society. Lacking this ability, both elected and unelected governments pursue public policies that leave citizens less well-off and more prone to revolt. At the same time, these actors have a reduced ability to build an anti-insurgency capacity in the first place, since they are less able to prevent anti-insurgents from themselves mounting coups. But while reducing the risk of conflict overall, increasing credibility can, over some range, worsen the effects of natural resources and ethnic fragmentation on civil war. Empirical tests using various measures of political credibility support these conclusions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4185.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4185

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Keywords: Population Policies; Parliamentary Government; Economic Theory&Research; Social Conflict and Violence; Politics and Government;

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  1. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. Robinson, James A. & Torvik, Ragnar & Verdier, Thierry, 2006. "Political foundations of the resource curse," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 447-468, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Mehlum, Halvor & Moene, Karl-Ove & Torvik, Ragnar, 2003. "Institutions and the resource curse," Memorandum 29/2002, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  5. Keefer, Philip & Knack, Stephen, 2002. " Polarization, Politics and Property Rights: Links between Inequality and Growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 111(1-2), pages 127-54, March.
  6. Garfinkel, M.R. & Skaperdas, S., 2000. "Conflict without Misperceptions or Incomplete Information: how the Future Matters," Papers 99-00-11, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  7. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  8. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
  9. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  10. Gilbert,Christopher L. & Vines,David (ed.), 2006. "The World Bank," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521029018, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Matteo Cervellati & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Democratization, Violent Social Conflicts, and Growth," Economics Working Paper Series 1114, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  2. Elbadawi, Ibrahim & Milante, Gary & Pischedda, Costantino, 2008. "Referendum, response, and consequences for Sudan : the game between juba and khartoum," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4684, The World Bank.
  3. Thomas Flores & Irfan Nooruddin, 2009. "Financing the peace: Evaluating World Bank post-conflict assistance programs," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 1-27, March.
  4. Bodea, Cristina, 2012. "Natural resources, weak states and civil war : can rents stabilize coup prone regimes ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6071, The World Bank.
  5. Tim Wegenast, 2010. "Inclusive Institutions and the Onset of Internal Conflict in Resource-rich Countries," GIGA Working Paper Series 126, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

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