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Congo: The Prize of Predation

  • Olsson, Ola

    ()

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

  • Congdon, Heather

    (Department of Economics, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)

The article analyzes the war against Mobutu (1996-97) and the more recent war (1998-) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with particular attention to greed and grievance as motivating factors in these two wars. Whereas our usage of the term ‘greed’ simply reflects the desire to gain control of natural resource rents, we model ‘grievance’ as deliberate institutional differences, implemented by the ruler, between the formal and informal sectors. On the basis of quantitative and qualitative evidence, we outline a model of a predatory conflict between a kleptocratic ruler and a group of potential predators within a given region. The potential predators choose between peaceful production and predation on the ruling elite, who control the country’s natural resource rents. It is shown that institutional grievance between the formal and informal sectors, along with the relative strength of the ruler's defense, play a key role for the initiation of a war. This observation is used to explain the timing of the two wars analyzed in this article. The model also shows that once a war has commenced, the abundance of natural resources and the ruler’s kleptocratic tendencies determine conflict intensity. This result is also well in line with experience from the most recent Congolese war.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2818
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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 97.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 16 May 2003
Date of revision: 30 Oct 2003
Publication status: Published in Journal of Peace Research, 2004, pages 321-336.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0097
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
Web page: http://www.handels.gu.se/econ/

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  1. Ola Olsson, 2004. "Conflict Diamonds," DEGIT Conference Papers c009_013, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  2. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
  3. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
  4. Grossman, Herschel I, 1999. "Kleptocracy and Revolutions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 267-83, April.
  5. Saideman, Stephen M., 1997. "Explaining the International Relations of Secessionist Conflicts: Vulnerability Versus Ethnic Ties," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 721-753, September.
  6. Skaperdas, Stergios, 2001. "Warlord Competition," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  7. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
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