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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. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2008. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," IZA Discussion Papers 3392, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2006. "Emergence and Persistence of Inefficient States," NBER Working Papers 12748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  5. Konstantin Sonin & Georgy Egorov & Daron Acemoglu, 2008. "Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions and Clubs," 2008 Meeting Papers 314, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  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. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
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