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Vertical Inequality, Land Reform, and Insurgency in Colombia

  • Flores Thomas Edward

    ()

    (George Mason University, The School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 3351 N. Fairfax Drive, MSN 4D3, Arlington, VA 22201, USA)

Registered author(s):

    How can we understand the origins and resilience of Colombia’s long-running insurgency? A leading theory emphasizes the feasibility of insurgency, identifying drug trafficking as the main culprit. I propose an alternative theory of civil violence that emphasizes how bargaining over property rights in the face of deep vertical inequality deepens the subordinate group’s social identity, heightens its sense of grievance, and facilitates collective violence. An examination of the history of land reform struggles in Colombia echoes this pattern. Struggles over land reforms in the 1920s and 1930s created new patterns of collective action that helped sustain campesino groups in the “independent republics” of the 1950s and 1960s and the creation of the FARC in 1964. This analysis suggests that the Colombian state’s lack of credibility on issues of land reform demands a significant third-party enforcement of any peace agreement and confidence-building measures between the FARC and the Colombian government.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 5-31

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:pepspp:v:20:y:2014:i:1:p:5-31:n:7
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    1. Juan F. Vargas, 2011. "The persistent colombian conflict bubnational analysis of the duration of violence," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 007934, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
    2. Paul Collier & V. L. Elliott & Håvard Hegre & Anke Hoeffler & Marta Reynal-Querol & Nicholas Sambanis, 2003. "Breaking the Conflict Trap : Civil War and Development Policy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13938.
    3. Peter Sandholt Jensen & Tony Vittrup S�rensen, 2012. "Land Inequality And Conflict In Latin America In The Twentieth Century," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 77-94, January.
    4. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2006. "Beyond Greed and Grievance: Feasibility and Civil War," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2006-10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Frederick Solt, 2009. "Standardizing the World Income Inequality Database," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(2), pages 231-242.
    6. Fabio Sánchez Torres & Antonella Fazio Vargas & María del Pilar López-Uribe, 2006. "Land Conflict, Property Rights, and the Rise of the Export Economy in Colombia, 1850-1925," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 005103, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    7. Alchian, Armen A. & Demsetz, Harold, 1973. "The Property Right Paradigm," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 16-27, March.
    8. Mauricio A. Rodríguez & Nancy A. Daza, 2012. "Determinants of Civil Conflict in Colombia: How Robust are they?," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(2), pages 109-131, April.
    9. Christopher Cramer, 2003. "Does inequality cause conflict?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 397-412.
    10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
    12. Jack Hirshleifer, 1991. "The Paradox Of Power," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 177-200, November.
    13. Walter, Barbara F., 1997. "The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(03), pages 335-364, June.
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