On the Links between Violent Conflict and Household Poverty: How Much Do We Really Know?
This paper assesses the usefulness of a new emerging body of work on the micro-level analysis of conflict and violence in advancing our current understanding of the relationship between violent conflict and household poverty. Micro-level empirical evidence on the relationship between violent conflict and poverty has been scarce and at times contradictory. This field of research has, however, grown significantly in recent years and evidence is slowly starting to accumulate. The paper makes use of new findings to propose a framework to understand fundamental transmission mechanisms from violent conflict through to household poverty, as well as the potential impact of household poverty on conflict. This framework suggests three key self-reinforcing mechanisms through which violent conflict may impact on the poor: through the impact on assets and livelihoods, through education and health effects, and through the displacement of populations and the breakdown of socioeconomic networks. In addition, the paper conceptualises the extent to which poverty can act as a trigger for violent conflict owing to lack of choice of those involved, widespread social discontent amongst different population groups and the search for better socio-economic opportunities. We expect this framework to act as a benchmark for further work on the analysis of the relationship between poverty and violent conflict, including much-needed efforts at gathering further empirical evidence.
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