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Greed and Grievance in Civil War

Author

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  • Paul Collier
  • Anke Hoeffler

Abstract

Of the 27 major armed conflicts that occurred in 1999, all but two took place within national boundaries. As an impediment to development, internal rebellion especially hurts the world's poorest countries. What motivates civil wars? Greed or grievance? This paper compares two contrasting motivations for rebellion: greed and grievance. Most rebellions are ostensibly in pursuit of a cause, supported by a narrative of grievance. But since grievance assuagement through rebellion is a public good which a government will not supply, economists predict such rebellions would be rare. Empirically, many rebellions appear to be linked to the capture of resources (such as diamonds in Angola and Sierra Leone, drugs in Colombia, and timber in Cambodia). This paper sets up a simple rational choice model of greed-rebellion and contrasts its predictions with those of a simple grievance model. Some countries return to conflict repeatedly. Are they conflict-prone or is there a feedback effect whereby conflict generates grievance which in turn generates further conflict? It is shown why such a feedback effect might be present in both greed-motivated and grievance rebellions. The results contrast with conventional beliefs about the causes of conflict. A stylized version of conventional beliefs would be that grievance begets conflict which begets grievance which begets further conflict. With such a model, the only point at which to intervene is to reduce the level of objective grievance. The model suggests that what actually happens is that opportunities for predation (controlling primary commodity exports) cause conflict and the grievances this generates induce diasporas to finance further conflict. The point of policy intervention here is to reduce the absolute and relative attraction of primary commodity predation and to reduce the ability of diasporas to fund rebel movements.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2000. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-18, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2000-18
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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/20-18text.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert MacCulloch & Silvia Pezzini, 2010. "The Roles of Freedom, Growth, and Religion in the Taste for Revolution," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(2), pages 329-358, May.
    2. Ebeke, Christian & Omgba, Luc Désiré & Laajaj, Rachid, 2015. "Oil, governance and the (mis)allocation of talent in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 126-141.
    3. Joseph J. Capuno, 2017. "Violent conflicts in ARMM: Probing the factors related to local political, identity, and shadow-economy hostilities," UP School of Economics Discussion Papers 201707, University of the Philippines School of Economics.
    4. Demachi, Kazue, 2017. "TVET as the last educational chance : employability and family background of Ethiopian urban youth," IDE Discussion Papers 671, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    5. Ali, Hamid E. & Lin, Eric S., 2010. "Wars, foodcost and countervailing policies: A panel data approach," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 378-390, October.
    6. Doraisami, Anita, 2015. "Has Malaysia really escaped the resource curse? A closer look at the political economy of oil revenue management and expenditures," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 98-108.
    7. Ouoba, Youmanli, 2016. "Natural resources: Funds and economic performance of resource-rich countries," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 108-116.
    8. Maconachie Roy & Binns Tony, 2007. "Beyond greed and grievance in Sierra Leone," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, De Gruyter, vol. 51(1), pages 163-175, October.
    9. Thierry Deffarges, 2003. "Sur la nature et les causes du terrorisme. Une revue de la littérature économique," Revue Tiers Monde, Programme National Persée, vol. 44(174), pages 369-392.
    10. Emily Oster, 2004. "Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 215-228, Winter.
    11. Dutta, Indranil & Mishra, Ajit, 2005. "Does Inequality lead to Conflict?," WIDER Working Paper Series 034, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    12. Fabio Sánchez & María del Mar Palau, 2006. "Conflict, Decentralisation and Local Governance in Colombia, 1974-2004," HiCN Working Papers 14, Households in Conflict Network.
    13. Federico Traversa, 2015. "Income and the stability of democracy: Pushing beyond the borders of logic to explain a strong correlation?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 121-136, June.
    14. Omgba, Luc Désiré, 2015. "Why Do Some Oil-Producing Countries Succeed in Democracy While Others Fail?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 180-189.
    15. Michael A. Clemens & Steven Radelet & Rikhil Bhavnani, 2004. "Counting chickens when they hatch: The short-term effect of aid on growth," International Finance 0407010, EconWPA.
    16. Matsumoto, Mitsuko, 2016. "Three strands of explanations on root causes of civil war in low-income and weak states in sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for education," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-10.
    17. Perroni, Carlo & Proto, Eugenio, 2010. "Entrepreneurial drain under moral hazard: A high-yield sector curse?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 63-70, September.
    18. Susan Willett, 2005. "New Barbarians at the Gate: Losing the liberal peace in Africa," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(106), pages 569-594, December.
    19. Chauvet, Lisa, 2003. "Socio-political instability and the allocation of international aid by donors," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 33-59, March.
    20. Elbadawi, Ibrahim & Sambanis, Nicholas, 2001. "How much war will we see? Estimating the incidence of civil war in 161 countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2533, The World Bank.
    21. Jonathan Di John, 2007. "Oil abundance and violent political conflict: A critical assessment," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(6), pages 961-986.
    22. Banco Mundial, 2004. "Colombia: Una Política De Tierras En Transición," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 002146, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    23. Amnon Levy & Joao Ricardo Faria, 2007. "Ramsey In Dual-Population Lands: Internal Conflict And Utility-Maximizing Consumption," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 339-352.
    24. repec:eee:jrpoli:v:54:y:2017:i:c:p:43-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Maconachie, Roy & Binns, Tony, 2007. "Beyond the resource curse? Diamond mining, development and post-conflict reconstruction in Sierra Leone," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 104-115, September.

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