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Economic Roots of Political Conflict: The Case of Sri Lanka


  • Sirimal Abeyratne


The escalation of political conflicts in many developing countries and their impact on economic development have been topical issues in recent development literature. The overwhelming emphasis on 'ethnic conflicts' in the literature has, however, precluded analysts from looking at political conflicts beyond their ethnic dimension, in the wider context of the development process. In particular, because of the preoccupation with ethnic roots as the prime source of these conflicts, reverse causation, running from economic policy to political conflict, has been virtually ignored in the debate. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap through an in-depth case study of the 'twin political conflict' in Sri Lanka - the Tamil separatist war in the North and the Sinhala youth uprising in the South - with emphasis on its economic roots. The findings suggest that fundamental contradictions in the national development policy in the restrictive trade regime of Sri Lanka were at the heart of the country's twin political conflict. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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  • Sirimal Abeyratne, 2004. "Economic Roots of Political Conflict: The Case of Sri Lanka," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(8), pages 1295-1314, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:27:y:2004:i:8:p:1295-1314

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas F. Rutherford & E. Elisabet Rutstrom & David Tarr, 2014. "Morocco's free trade agreement with the EU: A quantitative assessment," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: APPLIED TRADE POLICY MODELING IN 16 COUNTRIES Insights and Impacts from World Bank CGE Based Projects, chapter 17, pages 405-437 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Deardorff, Alan V, 2001. "International Provision of Trade Services, Trade, and Fragmentation," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(2), pages 233-248, May.
    3. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    4. Bernard Hoekman & Denise Konan & Keith Maskus, 1998. "An Egypt-U.S. Free Trade Agreement: Economic Incentives and Effects," Working Papers 199802, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    5. Hoekman, Bernard & Konan, Denise & Maskus, Keith, 1998. "An Egypt-United States Free Trade Agreement: Economic Incentives and Effects," CEPR Discussion Papers 1882, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Konan, Denise Eby & Maskus, Keith E., 2000. "Joint trade liberalization and tax reform in a small open economy: the case of Egypt," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 365-392, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing & Sur, Mona, 2007. "Sri Lanka's Rural Non-Farm Economy: Removing Constraints to Pro-Poor Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 2056-2078, December.
    2. Sarah Brockhoff & Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2012. "Great Expectations and Hard Times — The (Nontrivial) Impact of Education on Domestic Terrorism," Working Papers CIE 47, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
    3. Prema-chandra Athukorala, 2012. "Sri Lanka’s Trade Policy: Reverting to Dirigisme?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1662-1686, December.
    4. Yiping Huang & Jian Chang & Prema-Chandra Athukorala & Sisira Jayasuriya, 2013. "Economic Policy Shifts in Sri Lanka: The Post-Conflict Development Challenge," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 12(2), pages 1-28, Summer.
    5. Naranpanawa, Athula & Bandara, Jayatilleke S. & Selvanathan, Saroja, 2011. "Trade and poverty nexus: A case study of Sri Lanka," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 328-346, March.
    6. Sharma, Kishor, 2006. "The political economy of civil war in Nepal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 1237-1253, July.
    7. Ramani Gunatilaka & Duangkamon Chotikapanich, 2006. "Inequality Trends and Determinants in Sri Lanka 1980-2002: A Shapley Approach to Decomposition," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 6/06, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
    8. Jain, Tarun, 2011. "Common tongue: The impact of language on economic performance," MPRA Paper 34423, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Deeptha Wijerathna & Jayatilleke S. Bandara & Christine Smith & Athula Naranpanawa, 2014. "Regional disparities in Sri Lanka: an empirical analysis," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 21(2), pages 77-102, December.

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