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Persistence of Civil Wars

  • Daron Acemoglu

    (MIT and CIFAR)

  • Davide Ticchi

    (University of Urbino)

  • Andrea Vindigni

    (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 Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF) in its series EIEF Working Papers Series with number 0910.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision: Sep 2009
Handle: RePEc:eie:wpaper:0910
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2006. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 34, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  2. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Politics and Economics in Weak and Strong States," NBER Working Papers 11275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. HÃ¥vard Hegre, 2004. "The Duration and Termination of Civil War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 243-252, May.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2008. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," NBER Working Papers 13915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, November.
  6. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  7. Jeffrey Herbst, 2004. "African Militaries and Rebellion: The Political Economy of Threat and Combat Effectiveness," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 357-369, May.
  8. 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.
  9. 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, 01.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2008. "Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs," NBER Working Papers 14239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Karl R. de Rouen JR & David Sobek, 2004. "The Dynamics of Civil War Duration and Outcome," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 303-320, May.
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