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Does inequality cause conflict?

  • Christopher Cramer

    (Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, London, UK)

This paper suggests that economic inequality is important to explaining civil conflict, but that the links are not as direct as is often supposed. It is important to focus on the variety of ways in which inequalities are managed by societies, and the significance of varying kinds of inequality. It is also important to understand the transmission mechanisms that enable a relatively peaceable durable inequality to turn into a violent conflict. These considerations, together with the poor quality of the available inequality data, should make us more cautious about the conclusions reached by cross-country empirical studies into the causes of conflict which ascribe a strong predictive power to measures of inequality. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of International Development.

Volume (Year): 15 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 397-412

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:15:y:2003:i:4:p:397-412
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  1. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus & Feder, Gershon, 1995. "Power, distortions, revolt and reform in agricultural land relations," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2659-2772 Elsevier.
  2. Frances Stewart, 2000. "Crisis Prevention: Tackling Horizontal Inequalities," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 245-262.
  3. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  4. Stephanie Seguino, 1997. "Gender wage inequality and export-led growth in South Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(2), pages 102-132.
  5. Cramer, C., 2002. "Homo Economicus Goes to War: Methodological Individualism, Rational Choice and the Political Economy of War," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 1845-1864, November.
  6. Andre, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-47, January.
  7. Nafziger, E.W. & Auvinen, J., 1997. "War, Hunger, and Displacement: An Econometric Investigation into the Sources of Humanitarian Emergencies," Research Paper 142, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
  8. Stephanie Seguino, 2000. "Accounting for Gender in Asian Economic Growth," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(3), pages 27-58.
  9. Miguel Székely & Marianne Hilgert, 1999. "What's Behind the Inequality we Measure: An Investigation Using Latin American Data," Research Department Publications 4188, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  10. Fields, Gary S, 1989. "Changes in Poverty and Inequality in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 4(2), pages 167-85, July.
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