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Congo: The Prize of Predation

Author

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  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Olsson, Ola & Congdon, Heather, 2003. "Congo: The Prize of Predation," Working Papers in Economics 97, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 30 Oct 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0097
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/2818
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    3. Olsson, Ola, 2007. "Conflict diamonds," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 267-286, March.
    4. Stergios Skaperdas, 2002. "Warlord Competition," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 39(4), pages 435-446, July.
    5. Grossman, Herschel I, 1999. "Kleptocracy and Revolutions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 267-283, April.
    6. 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 1275-1288, December.
    7. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-921, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kaznacheev, Peter, 2013. "Resource Rents and Economic Growth," Published Papers kazn01, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    2. Olsson, Ola & Hansson, Gustav, 2011. "Country size and the rule of law: Resuscitating Montesquieu," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(5), pages 613-629, June.
    3. Ola Olsson, 2016. "Climate Change and Market Collapse: A Model Applied to Darfur," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-27, March.
    4. Halvor Mehlum & Karl Moene & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "Cursed by Resources or Institutions?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 1117-1131, August.
    5. van Besouw, Bram & Ansink, Erik & van Bavel, Bas, 2016. "The economics of violence in natural states," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 139-156.
    6. Matsen, Egil & Torvik, Ragnar, 2005. "Optimal Dutch disease," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 494-515, December.
    7. Michael D. König & Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2016. "The Long-lasting Shadow of the Allied Occupation of Austria on its Spatial Equilibrium," HiCN Working Papers 231, Households in Conflict Network.
    8. Carl-Johan Dalgaard & Ola Olsson, 0. "Windfall Gains, Political Economy and Economic Development," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 17(suppl_1), pages -109.
    9. Jean-Paul Azam, 2006. "The Paradox of Power Reconsidered: A Theory of Political Regimes in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 26-58, March.
    10. Olsson, Ola & Siba, Eyerusalem, 2013. "Ethnic cleansing or resource struggle in Darfur? An empirical analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 299-312.
    11. Congdon Fors, Heather & Olsson, Ola, 2007. "Endogenous institutional change after independence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1896-1921, November.
    12. Katharina Wick & Erwin Bulte, 2006. "Contesting resources – rent seeking, conflict and the natural resource curse," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 457-476, September.
    13. Jean-François Maystadt & Giacomo De Luca & Petros G. Sekeris & John Ulimwengu, 2014. "Mineral resources and conflicts in DRC: a case of ecological fallacy?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 721-749.
    14. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
    15. Ola Olsson, 2006. "Diamonds Are a Rebel's Best Friend," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 1133-1150, August.
    16. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2006. "Challenges and Opportunities for Resource Rich Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 5688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Olivier Dagnelie & Giacomo De Luca & Jean-Francois Maystadt, 2014. "Do girls pay the price of civil war?," Working Papers 66401113, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    18. Dagnelie, Olivier & De Luca, Giacomo & Maystadt, Jean-François, 2014. "Do girls pay the price of civil war? Violence and infant mortality in Congo:," IFPRI discussion papers 1374, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    19. repec:gam:jgames:v:7:y:2016:i:1:p:9:d:66071 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Olsson, Ola, 2007. "Conflict diamonds," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 267-286, March.
    21. Vittorio Daniele, 2011. "Natural Resources and the 'Quality' of Economic Development," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(4), pages 545-573.
    22. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Rohner, Dominic, 2012. "War and natural resource exploitation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1714-1729.
    23. Olsson, Ola, 2008. "Resource Conflict in Vulnerable Environments: Three Models Applied to Darfur," Working Papers in Economics 325, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    24. Kaznacheev, Peter, 2013. "Resource Rents and Economic Growth: Economic and institutional development in countries with a high share of income from the sale of natural resources. Analysis and recommendations based on internatio," EconStor Research Reports 121950, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Congo; appropriative conflict; natural resources; greed; grievance; predation;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • N47 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Africa; Oceania
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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