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The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence

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  • Timothy J. Besley
  • Torsten Persson

Abstract

This paper studies the incidence of civil war over time. We put forward a canonical model of civil war, which relates the incidence of conflict to circumstances, institutions and features of the underlying economy and polity. We use this model to derive testable predictions and to interpret the cross-sectional and times-series variations in civil conflict. Our most novel emprical finding is that higher world market prices of exported, as well as imported, commodities are strong and significant predictors of higher within-country incidence of civil war.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy J. Besley & Torsten Persson, 2008. "The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14585
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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