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Why is the Middle East burning? An historical analysis of the economic causes of conflicts from 1963 to 1999

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  • Elkanj, Nasser
  • Gangopadhyay, Partha

Abstract

Violent conflicts have become one of the major concerns in the Middle East. In recent days, especially, the Middle East has experienced a dramatic surge in violent conflicts. We examine the dynamics of historical conflicts in the region to explain the factors that triggered and fuelled conflicts in the region by using a panel of conflict estimates for ten Middle Eastern nations for the period 1963-1999. On the basis of the historical estimates we hazard the risk of explaining the factors that possibly led to the current eruption of violent crises in the Middle East. The fixed effects model is applied to control for unobservable country-specific effects that result in a missing-variable bias in cross-sectional studies, which thereby investigates the factors that caused statistically significant changes in conflicts over time within the chosen group. On the basis of the panel data estimates, we offer insights in the roles of inequality, inflation, economic growth, military spending, foreign direct investment, immigration and remittances in the surge in conflicts in the Middle East.

Suggested Citation

  • Elkanj, Nasser & Gangopadhyay, Partha, 2014. "Why is the Middle East burning? An historical analysis of the economic causes of conflicts from 1963 to 1999," International Journal of Development and Conflict, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, vol. 4(1), pages 35-48.
  • Handle: RePEc:gok:ijdcv1:v:4:y:2014:i:1:p:35-48
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olson, Mancur, 1963. "Rapid Growth as a Destabilizing Force," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(04), pages 529-552, December.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
    3. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
    4. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    5. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1996. "Social Conflict and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 125-142, March.
    6. Bourguignon, Francois & Morrisson, Christian, 1998. "Inequality and development: the role of dualism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 233-257.
    7. Manoucher Parvin, 1973. "Economic Determinants of Political Unrest," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 17(2), pages 271-296, June.
    8. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-187, June.
    9. Nafziger, E.W. & Auvinen, J., 1997. "War, Hunger, and Displacement: An Econometric Investigation into the Sources of Humanitarian Emergencies," Research Paper 142, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
    10. Andrew Mack, 2002. "Civil War: Academic Research and the Policy Community," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 39(5), pages 515-525, September.
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    1. repec:gok:ijdcv1:v:8:y:2018:i:2:p:115-125 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Conflicts; income inequality; panel data; military expenditure; economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War

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