IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Can states buy peace? Social welfare spending and civil conflicts

Listed author(s):
  • Zeynep Taydas

    (Department of Political Science, Clemson University)

  • Dursun Peksen

    (Department of Political Science, University of Memphis)

Registered author(s):

    This study examines whether the state’s ability to provide social welfare services has any major effect on the probability of civil conflict onset. We argue that welfare spending contributes to sustaining peace because the provision of social services reduces grievances by offsetting the effects of poverty and inequality in society. Welfare spending serves as an indication of the commitment of the government to social services and reflects its priorities and dedication to citizens. By enacting welfare policies that improve the living standards of citizens, governments can co-opt the political opposition and decrease the incentives for organizing a rebellion. Utilizing time-series, cross-national data for the 1975–2005 period, the results indicate that as the level of the government investment in welfare policies (i.e. education, health, and social security) increases, the likelihood of civil conflict onset declines significantly, controlling for several other covariates of internal conflict. Additional data analysis shows that general public spending and military expenditures are unlikely to increase or decrease the probability of civil unrest. Overall, these findings suggest that certain types of public spending, such as welfare spending, might have a strong pacifying effect on civil conflict, and therefore the state’s welfare efforts are vital for the maintenance of peace.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Peace Research Institute Oslo in its journal Journal of Peace Research.

    Volume (Year): 49 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 273-287

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:49:y:2012:i:2:p:273-287
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:49:y:2012:i:2:p:273-287. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.