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Resisting infection: How state capacity conditions conflict contagion

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  • Alex Braithwaite

    () (Department of Political Science, University College London)

Abstract

The collapse of Mobutu's Zaire and the arrival of father and son Kabila regimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (hereafter, the DRC) were hastened by the dramatic and tumultuous spread of violence from neighboring Rwanda. Mobutu's state's inability to manage the influx of Hutu refugees (with Interahamwe militia members interspersed) into the Kivu province of eastern Zaire from Rwanda's bloody genocide of 1994 or to compensate for the ratcheting up of their cross-border skirmishes with the Banyamulenge (Zairean Tutsi) population in 1996, exacerbated extant tensions and has since resulted in more than a dozen years of civil war. This example prompts us to ask: are countries with higher levels of state capacity better able to resist the spread of violence from neighboring territories into their own? The author argues that when falsely divided notions of spatial heterogeneity and dependence are interacted, contagion from neighboring conflicts becomes a risk of diminishing value for increasingly capable states. A model of civil war contagion affirms a conditional hypothesis, showing that state capacity modifies the likelihood that a state will become infected by a civil conflict occurring in neighboring territories.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex Braithwaite, 2010. "Resisting infection: How state capacity conditions conflict contagion," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(3), pages 311-319, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:3:p:311-319
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    Cited by:

    1. Carbonetti, Benjamin & Pomeroy, Robert & Richards, David L., 2014. "Overcoming the lack of political will in small scale fisheries," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 295-301.
    2. Carmignani, Fabrizio & Kler, Parvinder, 2016. "Surrounded by wars: Quantifying the role of spatial conflict spillovers," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 7-16.
    3. repec:eee:ecmode:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:484-495 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Yuri M. Zhukov, 2014. "Theory of Indiscriminate Violence," Working Paper 365551, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    5. Matthew R DiGiuseppe & Colin M Barry & Richard W Frank, 2012. "Good for the money," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 49(3), pages 391-405, May.
    6. Carmignani, Fabrizio & Kler, Parvinder, 2016. "The geographical spillover of armed conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 109-119.
    7. Silve, Arthur & Verdier, Thierry, 2017. "A theory of regional conflict complexes," CEPR Discussion Papers 11915, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Cingolani, Luciana & Thomsson, Kaj & de Crombrugghe, Denis, 2015. "Minding Weber More Than Ever? The Impacts of State Capacity and Bureaucratic Autonomy on Development Goals," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 191-207.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    civil conflict; contagion; geography; state capacity;

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