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Understanding Variations in Local Conflict: Evidence and Implications from Indonesia


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


Summary Recent studies of large-scale "headline" conflicts have excluded 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 by assessing the incidence, impacts, and patterns of local conflict in Indonesia. We employ a combination of qualitative fieldwork with an exploratory statistical analysis of the 2003 Village Potential Statistics collected by the Bureau of Statistics (Potensi Desa-PODES), which maps conflict across all of Indonesia's villages/neighborhoods. Violent conflict can be observed throughout the archipelago. The qualitative analysis shows that local conflicts vary in form and impacts across districts, and that local factors are key. The quantitative analysis, which excludes high conflict areas of Indonesia, confirms the importance of economic factors, with positive correlations between violent conflict and poverty, inequality, and variables measuring economic development. Clustering of ethnic groups and ill-defined property rights were also positively associated with violence.

Suggested Citation

  • Barron, Patrick & Kaiser, Kai & Pradhan, Menno, 2009. "Understanding Variations in Local Conflict: Evidence and Implications from Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 698-713, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:37:y:2009:i:3:p:698-713

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Samuel Bazzi & Matthew Gudgeon, 2015. "Local Government Proliferation, Diversity, and Conflict," HiCN Working Papers 205, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Maarten Voors & Eleonora Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan van Soest, 2010. "Does Conflict affect Preferences? Results from Field Experiments in Burundi," HiCN Working Papers 71, Households in Conflict Network.
    3. Joshua R. Gubler & Joel S. Selway & Ashutosh Varshney, 2016. "Crosscutting cleavages and ethno-communal violence: Evidence from Indonesia in the post-Suharto era," WIDER Working Paper Series 129, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Satoshi Yamazaki & Budy P. Resosudarmo & Wardis Girsang & Eriko Hoshino, 2015. "Intra- and Inter-village Conflict in Rural Coastal Communities in Indonesia: The case of the Kei Islands," Departmental Working Papers 2015-08, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    5. Samuel Bazzi & Matthew Gudgeon, "undated". "Local Government Proliferation, Diversity, and Conflict," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-271, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    6. Dercon, Stefan & Gutiérrez-Romero, Roxana, 2012. "Triggers and Characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan Electoral Violence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 731-744.
    7. Thomas Markussen & Kitavi Mbuvi, 2011. "When Does Ethnic Diversity Lead to Violence? Evidence from the 2007 Elections in Kenya," Discussion Papers 11-19, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    8. Joseph J. Capuno, 2017. "Violent conflicts in ARMM: Probing the factors related to local political, identity, and shadow-economy hostilities," UP School of Economics Discussion Papers 201707, University of the Philippines School of Economics.
    9. Dercon, Stefan & Gutiérrez-Romero, Roxana, 2012. "Triggers and Characteristics of the 2007 Kenyan Electoral Violence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 731-744.


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