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Inclusive Institutions and the Onset of Internal Conflict in Resource-rich Countries

  • Tim Wegenast


    (GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies)

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    The literature on institutional determinants of intra-state violence commonly asserts that the presence of multiple political parties reduces the conflict potential within countries; by co-opting oppositional groups into an institutionalized political arena, dissidents would prefer parliamentarian means over violent rebellion in order to pursue their goals. The present paper shows that this proposition does not necessarily hold for fuel-abundant states. In the presence of natural resources such as oil or gas, countries exhibiting numerous non-competitive parties are actually more susceptible to internal conflict. Fortified by the establishment of legal political parties, regime opponents succumb more easily to the prospects of securing resource revenues, adopting rapacious behaviour. Fuel-related internal grievances as well as the opposition’s disaffection over the lack of effective political leverage and government use of political violence provide a seemingly legitimate motive for armed rebellion. Moreover, financial means for insurgency are raised by extortion or the possibility of selling future exploitation rights to natural resources. Logit models using different estimation techniques and alternative operationalizations corroborate the proposed claim. The argumentation is further illustrated by a depiction of the Colombian case.

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    Paper provided by GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in its series GIGA Working Paper Series with number 126.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:126
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    1. Ivar Kolstad, 2009. "The resource curse: which institutions matter?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 439-442.
    2. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
    3. Eleonora Nillesen & Philip Verwimp, 2009. "Rebel Recruitment in a Coffee Exporting Economy," Research Working Papers 11, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
    4. Lewis, Peter M., 1994. "Economic statism, private capital, and the dilemmas of accumulation in Nigeria," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 437-451, March.
    5. Anne D. Boschini & Jan Pettersson & Jesper Roine, 2007. "Resource Curse or Not: A Question of Appropriability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(3), pages 593-617, 09.
    6. repec:chm:wpaper:wp200x-x is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Does democracy preempt civil wars?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 445-465, June.
    8. Jennifer Gandhi & Adam Przeworski, 2006. "Cooperation, Cooptation, And Rebellion Under Dictatorships," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(1), pages 1-26, 03.
    9. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    10. Olsson, Ola, 2003. "Conflict Diamonds," Working Papers in Economics 86, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 30 Nov 2003.
    11. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 2001. "Natural resources, education, and economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 847-859, May.
    12. Keefer, Philip, 2007. "Insurgency and credible commitment in autocracies and democracies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4185, The World Bank.
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