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Persistence of Civil Wars

Author

Listed:
  • Acemoglu, Daron

    (MIT)

  • Ticchi, Davide

    (IMT Lucca)

  • Vindigni, Andrea

    (University of Genova)

Abstract

A notable feature of post-World War II civil wars is their very long average duration. We provide a theory of the persistence of civil wars. The civilian government can successfully defeat rebellious factions only by creating a relatively strong army. In weakly-institutionalized polities this opens the way for excessive influence or coups by the military. Civilian governments whose rents are largely unaffected by civil wars then choose small and weak armies that are incapable of ending insurrections. Our framework also shows that when civilian governments need to take more decisive action against rebels, they may be forced to build over-sized armies, beyond the size necessary for fighting the insurrection, as a commitment to not reforming the military in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron & Ticchi, Davide & Vindigni, Andrea, 2009. "Persistence of Civil Wars," IZA Discussion Papers 4418, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4418
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2010. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-42, January.
    2. Fearon, James D. & Laitin, David D., 2003. "Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(1), pages 75-90, February.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2011. "Emergence And Persistence Of Inefficient States," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 177-208, April.
    4. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Måns Söderbom, 2004. "On the Duration of Civil War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 253-273, May.
    5. Robert Powell, 2004. "Bargaining and Learning While Fighting," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 48(2), pages 344-361, April.
    6. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2012. "Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1446-1476, June.
    8. Blattman, Christopher & Miguel, Edward, 2009. "Civil War," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt90n356hs, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    9. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422.
    10. Jeffrey Herbst, 2004. "African Militaries and Rebellion: The Political Economy of Threat and Combat Effectiveness," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 357-369, May.
    11. Karl R. de Rouen JR & David Sobek, 2004. "The Dynamics of Civil War Duration and Outcome," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 303-320, May.
    12. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
    13. HÃ¥vard Hegre, 2004. "The Duration and Termination of Civil War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 41(3), pages 243-252, May.
    14. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Rafael J. Santos, 2013. "The Monopoly Of Violence: Evidence From Colombia," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 5-44, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    political transitions; military; coups; commitment; civil wars; political economy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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