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Social Divisiveness and Conflicts: Grievances Matter!

Author

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  • Raouf Boucekkine

    () (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IMéRA - Institute for Advanced Studies - Aix-Marseille University, IUF - Institut Universitaire de France - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Education nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche)

  • Rodolphe Desbordes

    () (SKEMA Business School - Université Côte d'Azur)

  • Paolo Melindi-Ghidi

    () (EconomiX - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Somehow paradoxically, it is common for research on the determinants of civil wars to conclude that social factors matter much less, if at all, than economic factors. We contribute to this debate by conducting an original empirical analysis in which we investigate whether the deliberate unequal treatment of groups of people by a government can give rise to movements opposing the current political system. In doing so, we significantly innovate on the existing literature exploring the links between grievances and civil war. We look at all forms of social conflict, violent and non-violent, high and low intensity. Our index of social divisiveness captures multiple dimensions of observed unequal group treatments and is not restricted to latent ethnic divisions. We control for time-invariant factors in a large sample of countries over a long period of time. We take into account measurement uncertainty, dynamics, cross-region heterogeneity, localised spatial effects, non-linearity of effects, and a potential endogeneity bias. Our results show that social divisiveness has a large, positive, and statistically significant robust effect on anti-system opposition. It also appears to be the main channel through which long-lasting ethnic polarisation influences the onset of civil wars.

Suggested Citation

  • Raouf Boucekkine & Rodolphe Desbordes & Paolo Melindi-Ghidi, 2019. "Social Divisiveness and Conflicts: Grievances Matter!," Working Papers halshs-02044350, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-02044350
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02044350
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social divisiveness; social conflict; civil resistance; civil war; grievances;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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