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Civil War and Foreign Influence

  • Facundo Albornoz


  • Esther Hauk


We study a symmetric information bargaining model of civil war where a third (foreign) party can affect the probabilities of winning the conflict and the size of the post conflict spoils. We show that the possible alliance with a third party makes peaceful agreements difficult to reach and might lead to new commitment problems that trigger war. Also, we argue that the foreign party is likely to induce persistent informational asymmetries which might explain long lasting civil wars. We explore both political and economic incentives for a third party to intervene. The explicit consideration of political incentives leads to two predictions that allow for identifying the influence of foreign intervention on civil war incidence. Both predictions are confirmed for the case of the U.S. as a potential intervening nation: (i) civil wars around the world are more likely under Republican governments and (ii) the probability of civil wars decreases with U.S. presidential approval rates.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 836.10.

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Length: 37
Date of creation: 28 Jun 2010
Date of revision: 19 Dec 2010
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:836.10
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  1. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2008. "Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk," NBER Working Papers 13964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
  3. Antràs, Pol & Padró i Miquel, Gerard, 2011. "Foreign influence and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 135-148, July.
  4. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2007. "International commodity prices, growth and the outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Working Papers 1053, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2009.
  5. Aidt, Toke & Albornoz, Facundo & Gassebner, Martin, 2010. "The Golden Halo and Political Transitions," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Hannover 2010 48, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  6. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
  7. Arindrajit Dube & Ethan Kaplan & Suresh Naidu, 2011. "Coups, Corporations, and Classified Information," NBER Working Papers 16952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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