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Beyond divide and rule: weak dictators, natural resources and civil conflict

Author

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  • Giacomo De Luca

    ()

  • Petros G. Sekeris

    ()

  • Juan F. Vargas

    ()

Abstract

We propose a model where an autocrat rules over an ethnically divided society. The dictator selects the tax rate over domestic production and the nation's natural resources to maximize his rents under the threat of a regime-switching revolution. We show that a weak ruler may let the country plunge in civil war to increase his personal rents. Inter-group fighting weakens potential opposition to the ruler, thereby allowing him to increase fiscal pressure. We show that the presence of natural resources exacerbatesthe incentives of the ruler to promote civil conflict for his own profit, especially if the resources are unequally distributed across ethnic groups. We validate the main predictions of the model using cross-country data over the period 1960-2007, and show that our empirical results are not likely to be driven by omitted observable determinants of civil war incidence or by unobservable country-specific heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Giacomo De Luca & Petros G. Sekeris & Juan F. Vargas, 2011. "Beyond divide and rule: weak dictators, natural resources and civil conflict," Documentos de Trabajo 008893, Universidad del Rosario.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:008893
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    File URL: http://repository.urosario.edu.co/bitstream/handle/10336/10903/8893.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:eee:jhecon:v:59:y:2018:i:c:p:153-177 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2016. "Religious Seduction in Autocracy: A Theory Inspired by History," CEPR Discussion Papers 11258, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Julika Herzberg & Oliver Lorz, 2018. "Sourcing from Conflict Regions: Policies to Improve Transparency in International Supply Chains," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201838, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    4. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:395-412 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2017. "Religious co-option in autocracy: A theory inspired by history," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 395-412.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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