IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/col/000089/015890.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Who wants violence? The political economy of conflict and state building in Colombia

Author

Listed:
  • Leopoldo Fergusson

Abstract

Enduring violent conflict is the flip side of the coin of a weak state. In this article, I propose some political economy underpinnings for the persistence of conflict (and the weak state). Focusing on the case of Colombia, I discuss three broad sets of mechanisms that are also relevant elsewhere. First, a public goods trap" implies that a low supply of public goods (including security and order) produces a low demand for public goods, and vice versa. This trap is grounded on, and reproduces, political and economic inequality. Second, conflict and a weak state create economic and political rents, producing vested interests in the status quo. I argue that political rents are a particularly strong obstacle, partly because reformers face a sort of curse of dimensionality: many things have to work well for state capacity and stable peace to consolidate. Politically powerful groups take advantage of any weak spot to defend their rents, producing countervailing negative effects following state building efforts. Finally, the very clientelistic pattern of political exchange in many societies consolidates a weak state, and weak states are fertile ground for clientelism to flourish. This vicious circle of clientelism and state weakness is another reason for persistence. I conclude discussing some lessons for reformers, though the very nature of the argument implies that there are no easy recipes for success.

Suggested Citation

  • Leopoldo Fergusson, 2017. "Who wants violence? The political economy of conflict and state building in Colombia," Documentos CEDE 15890, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:015890
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://repositorio.uniandes.edu.co/bitstream/handle/1992/8866/dcede2017-67.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pedro C. Vicente, 2014. "Is Vote Buying Effective? Evidence from a Field Experiment in West Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 356-387, February.
    2. Ximena Cadena, 2014. "Colombia en Movimiento 2010-2013," Libros en Línea 14162, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    3. Massimo Guidolin & Eliana La Ferrara, 2007. "Diamonds Are Forever, Wars Are Not: Is Conflict Bad for Private Firms?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1978-1993, December.
    4. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1218-1244, September.
    5. Daron Acemoglu, 2006. "Modeling Inefficient Institutions," NBER Working Papers 11940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
    7. Blundell,Richard & Newey,Whitney K. & Persson,Torsten (ed.), 2006. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521871525.
    8. Isaías Chaves & Leopoldo Fergusson & James A. Robinson, 2015. "He Who Counts Elects: Economic Elites, Political Elites, and Electoral Fraud," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(1), pages 124-159, March.
    9. Ch, Rafael & Shapiro, Jacob & Steele, Abbey & Vargas, Juan F., 2018. "Endogenous Taxation in Ongoing Internal Conflict: The Case of Colombia," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 996-1015, November.
    10. Leopoldo Fergusson & Carlos Molina & Juan Felipe Riaño, 2019. "Consumers as VAT “Evaders”: Incidence, Social Bias, and Correlates in Colombia," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 21-67, April.
    11. Leopoldo Fergusson & Horacio Larreguy & Juan Felipe Riaño, 2022. "Political Competition and State Capacity: Evidence from a Land Allocation Program in Mexico," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 132(648), pages 2815-2834.
    12. Powell, Robert, 2006. "War as a Commitment Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 169-203, January.
    13. Dewatripont,Mathias & Hansen,Lars Peter & Turnovsky,Stephen J. (ed.), 2003. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521818742.
    14. Dewatripont,Mathias & Hansen,Lars Peter & Turnovsky,Stephen J. (ed.), 2003. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521524117.
    15. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    16. Melissa Dell, 2015. "Trafficking Networks and the Mexican Drug War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1738-1779, June.
    17. Ana Arjona, 2014. "Wartime Institutions: A Research Agenda," HiCN Working Papers 169, Households in Conflict Network.
    18. Leopoldo Fergusson & Carlos Molina & James A. Robinson & Juan F. Vargas, 2017. "The Long Shadow of the Past: Political Economy of Regional Inequality in Colombia," Documentos CEDE 15445, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    19. Facundo Alveredo & Juliana Londoño Vélez, 2013. "High incomes and personal taxation in a developing economy: Colombia 1993-2010," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1312, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    20. Blair, Graeme & Imai, Kosuke, 2012. "Statistical Analysis of List Experiments," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 47-77, January.
    21. Blundell,Richard & Newey,Whitney K. & Persson,Torsten (ed.), 2006. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521692083.
    22. Dewatripont,Mathias & Hansen,Lars Peter & Turnovsky,Stephen J. (ed.), 2003. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521818735.
    23. Dewatripont,Mathias & Hansen,Lars Peter & Turnovsky,Stephen J. (ed.), 2003. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521524124.
    24. Raquel Bernal & Ximena Cadena & Adriana Camacho & Juan Camilo Cárdenas & Leopoldo Fergusson & Ana María Ibáñez, 2012. "Encuesta Longitudinal Colombiana de la Universidad de los Andes- ELCA 2013," Documentos CEDE 12340, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    25. Abbey Steele, 2011. "Electing Displacement: Political Cleansing in Apartadó, Colombia," Documentos CEDE 8747, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    26. 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.
    27. repec:gig:joupla:v:2:y:2010:i:2:p:53-84 is not listed on IDEAS
    28. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 379-414, July.
    29. Leonard Wantchekon, 2003. "Clientelism and voting behavior: Evidence from a field experiment in benin," Natural Field Experiments 00339, The Field Experiments Website.
    30. Dewatripont,Mathias & Hansen,Lars Peter & Turnovsky,Stephen J. (ed.), 2003. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521818728.
    31. Abbey Steele, 2011. "Electing Displacement: Political Cleansing in Apartad�, Colombia," HiCN Working Papers 96, Households in Conflict Network.
    32. Leopoldo Fergusson & Juan F. Vargas & Mauricio A. Vela, 2013. "Sunlight Disinfects? Free Media in Weak Democracies," Documentos CEDE 10487, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    33. Leopoldo Fergusson & Carlos Molina & Juan Felipe Riaño, 2018. "I Sell My Vote, and So What? Incidence, Social Bias, and Correlates of Clientelism in Colombia," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2018), pages 181-218, November.
    34. Dewatripont,Mathias & Hansen,Lars Peter & Turnovsky,Stephen J. (ed.), 2003. "Advances in Economics and Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521524131.
    35. Abbey Steele, 2011. "Electing Displacement: Political Cleansing in Apartadó, Colombia," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(3), pages 423-445, June.
    36. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
    37. Jessica Steinberg, 2018. "‘Strong’ states and strategic governance: A model of territorial variation in state presence," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 30(2), pages 224-245, April.
    38. Leopoldo Fergusson & James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik & Juan F. Vargas, 2016. "The Need for Enemies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1018-1054, June.
    39. Leopoldo Fergusson & Pablo Querubin & Nelson A. Ruiz & Juan F. Vargas, 2021. "The Real Winner's Curse," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 65(1), pages 52-68, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Leopoldo Fergusson & Juan F. Vargas, 2023. "Colombia: Democratic but Violent?," Springer Books, in: Felipe Valencia Caicedo (ed.), Roots of Underdevelopment, pages 285-316, Springer.
    2. Bernal, Carolina & Prem, Mounu & Vargas, Juan F. & Ortiz, Mónica, 2024. "Peaceful entry: Entrepreneurship dynamics during Colombia’s peace agreement," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C).
    3. Perilla, Sergio & Prem, Mounu & Purroy, Miguel E. & Vargas, Juan F., 2024. "How peace saves lives: Evidence from Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 176(C).
    4. Leopoldo Fergusson & Tatiana Hiller & Ana Maria Ibañez, 2020. "Growth and inclusion trajectories of Colombian functional territories," Sobre México. Revista de Economía, Sobre México. Temas en economía, vol. 1(1), pages 79-125.
    5. Artem Kochnev, 2021. "Marching to Good Laws: The Impact of War, Politics, and International Credit on Reforms in Ukraine," wiiw Working Papers 192, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    6. Fergusson, Leopoldo & Mejía, Javier & Robinson, James A. & Torres, Santiago, 2023. "Constitutions and Order: A theory and comparative evidence from Colombia and the United States," Documentos CEDE 20815, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Leopoldo Fergusson & Carlos A. Molina & James A. Robinson, 2022. "The Weak State Trap," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 89(354), pages 293-331, April.
    2. Martin Huber, 2012. "Identification of Average Treatment Effects in Social Experiments Under Alternative Forms of Attrition," Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, , vol. 37(3), pages 443-474, June.
    3. Besley, Timothy & Leight, Jessica & Pande, Rohini & Rao, Vijayendra, 2016. "Long-run impacts of land regulation: Evidence from tenancy reform in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 72-87.
    4. Dirk Bergemann & Alessandro Pavan, 2015. "Introduction to JET Symposium Issue on "Dynamic Contracts and Mechanism Design"," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2016, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Eva I. Hoppe & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2013. "Contracting under Incomplete Information and Social Preferences: An Experimental Study," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 80(4), pages 1516-1544.
    6. Kimmo Berg & Harri Ehtamo, 2012. "Continuous learning methods in two-buyer pricing problem," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research (GOR);Nederlands Genootschap voor Besliskunde (NGB), vol. 75(3), pages 287-304, June.
    7. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2020. "Improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2020-2, Nobel Prize Committee.
    8. Sebastian Galiani & Juan Pantano, 2021. "Structural Models: Inception and Frontier," NBER Working Papers 28698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Lorenz Goette & David Huffman & Stephan Meier & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Group Membership, Competition, and Altruistic versus Antisocial Punishment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Army Groups," Working Papers 2010-24, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    10. Gamba, Astrid & Immordino, Giovanni & Piccolo, Salvatore, 2018. "Corruption, organized crime and the bright side of subversion of law," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 79-88.
    11. John Geanakoplos & Robert Axtell & J. Doyne Farmer & Peter Howitt & Benjamin Conlee & Jonathan Goldstein & Matthew Hendrey & Nathan M. Palmer & Chun-Yi Yang, 2012. "Getting at Systemic Risk via an Agent-Based Model of the Housing Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 53-58, May.
    12. Christian Hellwig, 2004. "Heterogeneous Information and the Benefits of Public Information Disclosures (October 2005)," UCLA Economics Online Papers 283, UCLA Department of Economics.
    13. Gärtner, D.L. & Zhou, J., 2012. "Delays in Leniency Application : Is There Really a Race to the Enforcer’s Door?," Other publications TiSEM cbb8fac0-0cd7-4a0c-a6d4-a, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    14. Scott Duke Kominers & Alexander Teytelboym & Vincent P Crawford, 2017. "An invitation to market design," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press and Oxford Review of Economic Policy Limited, vol. 33(4), pages 541-571.
    15. Itay Goldstein, 2005. "Strategic Complementarities and the Twin Crises," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(503), pages 368-390, April.
    16. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2004. "Liquidity Black Holes," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 1-18.
    17. Ennis, Huberto M. & Keister, Todd, 2005. "Government policy and the probability of coordination failures," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 939-973, May.
    18. Zheng, Charles Z., 2019. "Necessary and sufficient conditions for peace: Implementability versus security," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 135-166.
    19. Christoph Breunig, 2019. "Goodness-of-Fit Tests based on Series Estimators in Nonparametric Instrumental Regression," Papers 1909.10133, arXiv.org.
    20. , & ,, 2013. "Selection-free predictions in global games with endogenous information and multiple equilibria," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(3), September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Conflict; state capacity; public goods; political economy.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:col:000089:015890. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Universidad De Los Andes-Cede (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ceandco.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.