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Mobility and Conflict


  • Sourav Bhattacharya
  • Joyee Deb
  • Tapas Kundu


We study the role of inter-group differences in the emergence of conflict. In our setting, two groups compete for the right to allocate societys resources, and we allow for costly intergroup mobility. The winning group offers an allocation, that the opposition can either accept, or reject and wage conflict. Expropriating a large share of resources increases political strength by attracting opposition members, but such economic exclusion implies lower per capita shares and higher risk of conflict. In equilibrium, allocations are non-monotonic in the cost of mobility. Moreover, limited commitment with respect to mobility gives rise to inefficient conflict in equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Sourav Bhattacharya & Joyee Deb & Tapas Kundu, 2012. "Mobility and Conflict," CESifo Working Paper Series 3699, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3699

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    • Sourav Bhattacharya & Joyee Deb & Tapas Kundu, 2011. "Mobility and Conflict," Working Papers 11-20, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean-Paul Azam, 2001. "The Redistributive State and Conflicts in Africa," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 38(4), pages 429-444, July.
    2. Roland G. Fryer, Jr., 2006. "A Model of Social Interactions and Endogenous Poverty Traps," NBER Working Papers 12364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2013. "On The Theory Of Ethnic Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 161-192, January.
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    5. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
    6. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    7. Wolfson, Michael C, 1994. "When Inequalities Diverge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 353-358, May.
    8. Juan G. Rodríguez & Rafael Salas, "undated". "Extended Bi-Polarization And Inequality Measures," Working Papers 10-03 Classification-JEL , Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.
    9. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did the West Extend the Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, and Growth in Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199.
    10. Fryer, Roland, 2007. "A Model of Social Interactions and Endogenous Poverty Traps," Scholarly Articles 2958480, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    11. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1995. "Anarchy and Its Breakdown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 26-52, February.
    12. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    13. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
    14. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-921, September.
    15. Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2007. "The Control of Politicians in Divided Societies: The Politics of Fear," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 1259-1274.
    16. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Paul Torelli, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of 'Acting White'," NBER Working Papers 11334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    18. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    19. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:04:p:529-545_04 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:04:p:715-735_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Azam, Jean-Paul, 1995. "How to Pay for the Peace? A Theoretical Framework with References to African Countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 83(1-2), pages 173-184, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Syropoulos, Constantinos & Zylkin, Thomas, 2015. "The Problem of Peace: A Story of Corruption, Destruction, and Rebellion," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2015-5, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    2. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:297-305 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    conflict; inter-group mobility; political competition; resource allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies


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