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Persistence of Civil Wars

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Davide Ticchi
  • Andrea Vindigni

Abstract

A notable feature of post-World War II civil wars is their very long average duration. We provide a theory of the persistence of civil wars. The civilian government can successfully defeat rebellious factions only by creating a relatively strong army. In weakly institutionalized polities this opens the way for excessive influence or coups by the military. Civilian governments whose rents are largely unaffected by civil wars then choose small and weak armies that are incapable of ending insurrections. Our framework also shows that when civilian governments need to take more decisive action against rebels, they may be forced to build oversized armies, beyond the size necessary for fighting the insurrection, as a commitment to not reforming the military in the future. (JEL: H2, N10, N40, P16) (c) 2010 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2010. "Persistence of Civil Wars," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 664-676, 04-05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:8:y:2010:i:2-3:p:664-676
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2010. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-42, January.
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    1. Kjell Hausken & Mthuli Ncube, 2017. "Incumbent policy, benefits provision, and the triggering and spread of revolutionary uprisings," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, EPS Publishing, vol. 12(1), pages 54-63, April.
    2. Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2013. "War Signals: A Theory of Trade, Trust, and Conflict," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 1114-1147.
    3. Pedro Naso & Erwin Bulte & Tim Swanson, 2017. "Can there be benefits from competing legal regimes? The impact of legal pluralism in post-conflict Sierra Leone," CIES Research Paper series 56-2017, Centre for International Environmental Studies, The Graduate Institute.
    4. Gilles Saint‐Paul & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2016. "A Theory of Political Entrenchment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1238-1263, June.
    5. Yikai Wang & Simon Alder, 2017. "Divide and Rule: An Origin of Polarization and Ethnic Conflict," 2017 Meeting Papers 1242, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Kıbrıs Arzu & Kıbrıs Özgür, 2016. "On the Dynamics of Extremist Violence," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 22(1), pages 1-25, January.
    7. Pauline Grosjean, 2014. "Conflict and Social and Political Preferences: Evidence from World War II and Civil Conflict in 35 European Countries," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 56(3), pages 424-451, September.
    8. Doepke, Matthias & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2014. "Culture, Entrepreneurship, and Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1-48 Elsevier.
    9. Orso, Cristina Elisa, 2009. "Formal and informal sectors: Interactions between moneylenders and traditional banks in the rural Indian credit market," POLIS Working Papers 135, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    10. Caleb Stroup & Ben Zissimos, 2017. "Pampered Bureaucracy, Political Stability and Trade Integration," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 425-450, August.
    11. Fenske, James & Kala, Namrata, 2015. "Climate and the slave trade," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 19-32.
    12. repec:oxf:wpaper:wps/2014-08 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Amegashie, J. Atsu, 2015. "Regime spoiler or regime pawn: The military and distributional conflict in non-democracies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 491-502.
    14. Jimenez-Ayora, Pablo & Ulubaşoğlu, Mehmet Ali, 2015. "What underlies weak states? The role of terrain ruggedness," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 167-183.
    15. Aguirre, Alvaro, 2016. "The risk of civil conflicts as a determinant of political institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 36-59.
    16. Leander Heldring, 2014. "State Capacity and Violence: Evidence from the Rwandan genocide," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    17. Baddeley, M., 2011. "Civil War and Human Development: Impacts of Finance and Financial Infrastructure," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1127, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    18. Bodea, Cristina, 2012. "Natural resources, weak states and civil war : can rents stabilize coup prone regimes ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6071, The World Bank.
    19. Ibrahim Ahmed Elbadawi & Raimundo Soto, 2015. "Resource rents, institutions, and violent civil conflicts," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 89-113, February.
    20. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Rafael J. Santos, 2013. "The Monopoly Of Violence: Evidence From Colombia," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 5-44, January.
    21. Giuranno, Michele, 2009. "The logic of party coalitions with political activism and public financing," POLIS Working Papers 134, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    22. Michael Jetter & Bei Li, 2017. "The Political Economy of Opposition Groups: Peace, Terrorism, or Civil Conflict," CESifo Working Paper Series 6747, CESifo Group Munich.
    23. Mizuno, Nobuhiro, 2016. "Political structure as a legacy of indirect colonial rule: Bargaining between national governments and rural elites in Africa," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 1023-1039.
    24. Jetter, Michael, 2016. "Peace, Terrorism, or Civil Conflict? Understanding the Decision of an Opposition Group," IZA Discussion Papers 9996, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    25. Antonio Savoia & Kunal Sen, 2015. "Measurement, Evolution, Determinants, And Consequences Of State Capacity: A Review Of Recent Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(3), pages 441-458, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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