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Congo: The Prize of Predation

Author

Listed:
  • Ola Olsson

    (Department of Economics, Göteborg University, ola.olsson@economics.gu.se)

  • Heather Congdon Fors

    (Department of Economics, Göteborg University)

Abstract

The article analyzes the war against Mobutu (1996-97) and the more recent war (1998-) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with particular attention to greed and grievance as motivating factors in these two wars. Whereas the authors’ usage of the term ‘greed’ simply reflects the desire to gain control of natural resource rents, they model ‘grievance’ as deliberate institutional differences, implemented by the ruler, between the formal and informal sectors. On the basis of quantitative and qualitative evidence, the authors outline a model of a predatory conflict between a kleptocratic ruler and a group of potential predators within a given region. The potential predators choose between peaceful production and predation on the ruling elite, who control the country’s natural resource rents. It is shown that institutional grievance between the formal and informal sectors, along with the relative strength of the ruler’s defense, play a key role for the initiation of a war. This observation is used to explain the timing of the two wars analyzed in this article. The model also shows that once a war has commenced, the abundance of natural resources and the ruler’s kleptocratic tendencies determine conflict intensity. This result is also well in line with experience from the most recent Congolese war.

Suggested Citation

  • Ola Olsson & Heather Congdon Fors, 2004. "Congo: The Prize of Predation," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 321-336, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:41:y:2004:i:3:p:321-336
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Saideman, Stephen M., 1997. "Explaining the International Relations of Secessionist Conflicts: Vulnerability Versus Ethnic Ties," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(4), pages 721-753, October.
    2. Grossman, Herschel I, 1999. "Kleptocracy and Revolutions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 267-283, April.
    3. Paul Collier, 2000. "Rebellion as a Quasi-Criminal Activity," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 44(6), pages 839-853, December.
    4. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    5. Stergios Skaperdas, 2002. "Warlord Competition," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 39(4), pages 435-446, July.
    6. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-1288, December.
    7. Olsson, Ola, 2007. "Conflict diamonds," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 267-286, March.
    8. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-921, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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