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Malthus in Rwanda? Scarcity, Survival and Causes of the Genocide

Listed author(s):
  • Yanagizawa, David


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

This paper does two things. First, it develops a game theoretical model over population groups that optimize their survival under resource scarce conditions. The model includes two rather obvious, but in the theoretical literature neglected, strategies - survival by migration and, once a conflict is ignited, survival by taking refuge. Results include determinants of migration and refugee flows, the threshold for violent conflict and its intensity. Second, it derives the necessary and sufficient conditions for a genocide and applies the model in order to analyze the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. It suggests that the extremist regime that seized power on April 6th 1994, while being on a genocide agenda exploited the underlying resource scarce conditions by way of forcefully destroying property rights and massively support appropriative actions, thereby facilitating the killings and persecutions of Tutsis on the scale of a genocide. Finally, key to understanding the scope of the genocide in 1994, is suggested to be that the extremist regime was not only the active support of appropriative actions, but the simultaneous and deliberate destroying of the refugee infrastructure. The difference in the level of refugee infrastucture can possibly explain why earlier violent episodes had lower conflict intensity although sharing some similar characteristics.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 201.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 28 Mar 2006
Date of revision: 31 Aug 2006
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0201
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
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