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Publicness of goods and violent conflict: Evidence from Colombia


  • Darwin Cortes


  • Daniel Montolio



AbstractHow the degree of publicness of goods affect violent conflict? Based on the theoretical model in Esteban and Ray (2001) we find that the effect of the degree of publicness depends on the group size. When the group is small (large), the degree of publicness increases (decreases) the likelihood of conflict. This opens an empirical question that we tackle using microdata from the Colombian conflict at the municipality level. We use three goods with different publicness degree to identify the sign of the effect of publicness on conflict. These goods are coca crops (private good), road density (public good subject to congestion) and average education quality (a purer public good). After dealing with endogeneity issues using an IV approach, we find that the degree of publicness reduces the likelihoodof both paramilitary and guerrilla attacks. Moreover, coca production exacerbates conflict and the provision of both public goods mitigates conflict. These results are robust to size, geographical, and welfare controls. Policies that improve public goods provision will help to fight the onset of conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Darwin Cortes & Daniel Montolio, 2013. "Publicness of goods and violent conflict: Evidence from Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 010725, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:010725

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:68:y:1974:i:02:p:707-716_11 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:03:p:663-672_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ana MaríaDíaz & FabioSánchez, 2004. "A Geography Of Illicit Crops (Coca Leaf) And Armed Conflict In Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 001918, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
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    5. 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.
    6. Fabio Sánchez Torres & Ana María Díaz, 2005. "Los Efectos Del Conflicto Armado En El Desarrollo Social Colombiano, 1990-2002," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 003167, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    7. Catherine rodríguez & fabio sánchez, 2012. "Armed Conflict Exposure, Human Capital Investments, And Child Labor: Evidence From Colombia," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(2), pages 161-184, April.
    8. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
    9. Katz, Eliakim & Nitzan, Shmuel & Rosenberg, Jacob, 1990. "Rent-Seeking for Pure Public Goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 49-60, April.
    10. 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.
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    More about this item


    Conflict; Coca Production; Road Density; Education; Publicness.;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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