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Paradise is a Bazaar? Greed, Creed, and Governance in Civil War, 1989-99

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  • INDRA DE SOYSA

    (Department of Political & Cultural Change, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn)

Abstract

Some prominent recent studies of civil war argue that greed, not grievance, is the primary motivating factor behind violence, basing their conclusions on a strong empirical association between primary commodity exports and civil war. This study contrasts alternative propositions that see need-, creed-, and governance-based explanations that are intimately related to the question of primary commodity dependence and conflict. Maximum likelihood analysis on approximately 138 countries over the entire post- Cold War period shows little support for neo-Malthusian claims. Abundant mineral wealth makes countries highly unstable, whereas scarcity of renewable resources is largely unrelated to civil conflict. A positive effect of population density on conflict does not seem to be conditioned by renewable resource scarcity. Ethnicity is related to conflict when society is moderately homogenous; a highly plural society faces less risk. Very slight political liberalization leads to conflict, but larger increases reduce the danger considerably, supporting the view that conflict is driven by opportunistic behaviour rather than by grievance. Increases in homogeneity among Islamic and Catholic populations make them riskier. Perhaps institutional factors relating to separation of church and state rather than competing creeds explain culture conflicts. Larger shares of both Christians and Muslims within countries make them safer, contrary to claims of natural antagonism between the two. Governance, proxied by the ratio of total trade to GDP, predicts peace strongly, an under-theorized area within the study of civil war. Trade's relationship to peace is robust to specification and sample size, supporting the findings of the State Failure Project. Greater attention should perhaps be paid to formal and informal institutional factors that create the synergy between private and public spaces for overcoming collective action problems of maintaining peace.

Suggested Citation

  • Indra De Soysa, 2002. "Paradise is a Bazaar? Greed, Creed, and Governance in Civil War, 1989-99," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 39(4), pages 395-416, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:39:y:2002:i:4:p:395-416
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    Cited by:

    1. Håvard Hegre, 2005. "Development and the Liberal Peace," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 31, pages 17-46.
    2. Rigterink, Anouk S., 2010. "The wrong suspect. An enquiry into the endogeneity of natural resource measures to civil war," MPRA Paper 45263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Indra de Soysa & Jennifer Bailey & Eric Neumayer, 2004. "Free to Squander? Democracy, Institutional Design, and Economic Sustainability, 1975–2000," Macroeconomics 0412004, EconWPA.
    4. Vusal Musayev, 2016. "Externalities in Military Spending and Growth: The Role of Natural Resources as a Channel through Conflict," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(3), pages 378-391, June.
    5. Philip Keefer, 2008. "Insurgency and Credible Commitment in Autocracies and Democracies," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 22(1), pages 33-61, January.
    6. Bodea, Cristina & Higashijima, Masaaki & Singh, Raju Jan, 2016. "Oil and Civil Conflict: Can Public Spending Have a Mitigation Effect?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 1-12.
    7. Toft, Peter, 2011. "Intrastate conflict in oil producing states: A threat to global oil supply?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(11), pages 7265-7274.
    8. de Soysa, Indra & Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene, 2013. "The natural resource curse and the spread of HIV/AIDS, 1990–2008," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 90-96.
    9. Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza & Witthuhn, Stefan, 2017. "Corruption and political stability: Does the youth bulge matter?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 47-70.
    10. James A. Piazza, 2016. "Oil and terrorism: an investigation of mediators," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(3), pages 251-268, December.
    11. Rigterink, Anouk S., 2012. "New Wars in Numbers. An exploration of various datasets on intra-state violence," MPRA Paper 45264, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Dinar, Ariel & Blankespoor, Brian & Dinar, Shlomi & Kurukulasuriya, Pradeep, 2010. "Does precipitation and runoff variability affect treaty cooperation between states sharing international bilateral rivers?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 2568-2581, October.

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