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(Non)intervention in intra-state conflicts


  • Amegashie, J. Atsu
  • Kutsoati, Edward


There are two factions in a conflict. A third-party may choose to intervene by supporting one of the factions. We consider a third-party who maximizes a weighted sum of the welfare of the warring factions and the non-combatant population. In the case of a nonmilitary intervention, we obtain the following results: if the third-party cares equally about the warring factions and the rest of the population, then he will not intervene. If the third-party cares more about the warring factions, then he might intervene and will help the stronger faction unless he places a sufficiently higher weight on the welfare of the weaker faction. The stronger faction is able to appropriate more resources from the rest of the population. However, we find that helping the stronger faction might make the rest of the population better off, since this reduces the aggregate cost of conflict. On efficiency grounds, helping the weaker faction is optimal if success by the weaker faction preserves the rule of law, respect for private property leading to higher output. We also find that the third party is likely to intervene if success in the conflict is extremely sensitive to effort. In the case of military intervention, we find that the third-party will intervene if he cares sufficiently about the rest of the population or cares about the net resources that will be left after the war. We present examples where the third-party chooses military intervention over non-military intervention and vice-versa.
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Suggested Citation

  • Amegashie, J. Atsu & Kutsoati, Edward, 2007. "(Non)intervention in intra-state conflicts," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 754-767, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:23:y:2007:i:3:p:754-767

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    Cited by:

    1. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2009. "Third-Party Intervention in Conflicts and the Indirect Samaritan's Dilemma," CESifo Working Paper Series 2695, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Thaize Challier, M.-Christine, 2010. "Socio-political conflict, social distance, and rent extraction in historical perspective," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 51-67, March.
    3. Chang, Yang-Ming & Sanders, Shane & Walia, Bhavneet, 2015. "The costs of conflict: A choice-theoretic, equilibrium analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 62-65.
    4. J. Atsu Amegashie & Marco Runkel, 2012. "The Paradox of Revenge in Conflicts," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 56(2), pages 313-330, April.
    5. Tridimas, George, 2011. "The political economy of power-sharing," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 328-342, June.
    6. J. Atsu Amegashie, 2009. "American Idol: should it be a singing contest or a popularity contest?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 33(4), pages 265-277, November.
    7. Nicholas Sambanis & Stergios Skaperdas & William Wohlforth, 2017. "External Intervention, Identity, and Civil War," Working Papers 161705, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    8. Bove, Vincenzo & Sekeris, Petros, 2011. "Economic Determinants of Third-Party Intervention in Civil Conflict," NEPS Working Papers 4/2011, Network of European Peace Scientists.
    9. Arye Hillman & Niklas Potrafke, 2015. "The UN Goldstone Report and retraction: an empirical investigation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 247-266, June.
    10. Zuleta, Hernando & Villaveces, Marta Juanita & Andonova, Veneta, 2013. "Conflict and negotiation in Colombia: Are pre-donations useful?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 105-117.
    11. Oskar Nupia, 2011. "Rent-seeking For Public Goods: Group´s Size and Wealth Heterogeneity," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 008914, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    12. Philip Brookins & Dmitry Ryvkin, 2014. "An experimental study of bidding in contests of incomplete information," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(2), pages 245-261, June.
    13. Oechslin, Manuel, 2014. "Targeting autocrats: Economic sanctions and regime change," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 24-40.
    14. Amegashie J. Atsu, 2011. "On Third-Party Intervention in Conflicts: An Economist's View," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 1-10, April.
    15. Gregory Price, 2008. "NEA Presidential Address: Black Economists of the World You Cite!!," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 1-12, March.
    16. Dong, Zhiqiang & Zhang, Yongjing, 2016. "A sequential game of endowment effect and natural property rights," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 108-111.
    17. Amegashie, J. Atsu & Runkel, Marco, 2008. "The Desire for Revenge and the Dynamics of Conflicts," MPRA Paper 6746, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Ryvkin, Dmitry, 2010. "Contests with private costs: Beyond two players," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 558-567, December.
    19. O'Reilly, Colin & Powell, Benjamin, 2015. "War and the growth of government," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 31-41.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions


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