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Buying peace or fuelling war: the role of corruption in armed conflicts

  • Philippe Le Billon

    (Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

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    Although corruption may have a corrosive effect on economies and rule-based institutions, it also forms part of the fabric of social and political relationships. This endogenous character means that conflict may be engendered more by changes in the pattern of corruption than by the existence of corruption itself. Such changes, frequently associated with domestic or external shocks, can lead to armed conflict as increasingly violent forms of competitive corruption between factions 'fuel war' by rewarding belligerents. Controversially, 'buying-off' belligerents can facilitate a transition to peace; but 'sticks' such as economic sanctions, rather than 'carrots', have dominated international conflict resolution instruments. While 'buying peace' can present a short-term solution, the key challenge for peace-building initiatives and fiscal reforms is to shift individual incentives and rewards away from the competition for immediate corrupt gains. This may be facilitated by placing public revenues under international supervision during peace processes. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/jid.993
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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: 413-426

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:15:y:2003:i:4:p:413-426
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    1. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
    2. Christian Harm & Joshua Charap, 1999. "Institutionalized Corruption and the Kleptocratic State," IMF Working Papers 99/91, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Mauro, Paolo, 1998. "Corruption and the composition of government expenditure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 263-279, June.
    4. Sanjeev Gupta, 1998. "Does Corruption Affect Income Inequality and Poverty?," IMF Working Papers 98/76, International Monetary Fund.
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