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Private Military Companies, Opportunities, and Termination of Civil Wars in Africa


  • Seden Akcinaroglu

    () (Political Science Department, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY, USA)

  • Elizabeth Radziszewski

    (European Union Center, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA)


The article analyzes the impact of private military companies (PMCs) on the duration of civil wars in Africa from 1990 to 2008. We develop an “opportunity structure†theory to argue that while PMCs are profit-oriented entities, the prevalent opportunities in conflicts will determine how they behave in war zones. Empirical findings for civil wars with at least 1,000 battle deaths show that as level of competition among government-hired PMCs increases, they are more likely to deliver optimal services and help bring an end to violence. In the absence of competition, the prevalent structure creates opportunities for PMCs to underperform in order to maximize profits by staying in conflicts longer. The authors also show that swift cessation of hostilities could benefit those profit-seeking PMCs that are compensated with contracts to extract natural resources because resource extraction generates more wealth in peace time. In such cases, the prevalent opportunities in conflict create an incentive for companies to deliver optimal service and terminate hostilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Seden Akcinaroglu & Elizabeth Radziszewski, 2013. "Private Military Companies, Opportunities, and Termination of Civil Wars in Africa," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 57(5), pages 795-821, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:57:y:2013:i:5:p:795-821

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    Cited by:

    1. Asongu, Simplice A. & Amankwah-Amoah, Joseph, 2018. "Mitigating capital flight through military expenditure: Insight from 37 African countries," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 38-53.
    2. repec:afe:journl:v:19:y:2017:i:2:p:77-91 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Asongu, Simplice & Biekpe, Nicholas, 2017. "Globalization and Terror in Africa," MPRA Paper 85056, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Simplice Asongu & Vanessa Tchamyou & Ndemaze Asongu & Nina Tchamyou, 2017. "The Comparative African Economics of Inclusive Development and Military Expenditure in Fighting Terrorism," Working Papers of the African Governance and Development Institute. 17/031, African Governance and Development Institute..
    5. Asongu, Simplice & Amankwah-Amoah, Joseph, 2016. "Military expenditure, terrorism and capital flight: Insights from Africa," MPRA Paper 74230, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Simplice Asongu & Vanessa Tchamyou & Ndemaze Asongu & Nina Tchamyou, 2017. "Fighting terrorism in Africa: evidence from bundling and unbundling institutions," Working Papers of the African Governance and Development Institute. 17/047, African Governance and Development Institute..

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    private military companies; civil wars; Africa;


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