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Persistence of Civil Wars

  • Acemoglu, Daron

    (MIT and CIFAR)

  • Ticchi, Davide

    (University of Urbino)

  • Vindigni, Andrea

    (Princeton University)

A notable feature of post-World War II civil wars is their very long average duration. We provide a theory of the persistence of civil wars. The civilian government can successfully defeat rebellious factions only by creating a relatively strong army. In weakly-institutionalized polities this opens the way for excessive influence or coups by the military. Civilian governments whose rents are largely unaffected by civil wars then choose small and weak armies that are incapable of ending insurrections. Our framework also shows that when civilian governments need to take more decisive action against rebels, they may be forced to build over-sized armies, beyond the size necessary for fighting the insurrection, as a commitment to not reforming the military in the future.

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Paper provided by Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy in its series Papers with number 09-06-2009.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecl:prirpe:09-06-2009
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2006. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," NBER Working Papers 12748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2008. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 74, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  3. Blattman, Christopher & Miguel, Edward, 2009. "Civil War," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt90n356hs, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Konstantin Sonin & Georgy Egorov & Daron Acemoglu, 2008. "Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions and Clubs," 2008 Meeting Papers 314, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, October.
  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. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Måns Söderbom, 2004. "On the Duration of Civil War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 253-273, May.
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