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The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence

  • Timothy J. Besley
  • Torsten Persson

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14585.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14585
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  1. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, 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. Pedro Dal Bó & Ernesto Dal Bó, 2004. "Workers, Warriors and Criminals: Social Conflict in General Equilibrium," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 642, Econometric Society.
  4. Azam, Jean-Paul, 2003. "The Paradox of Power Reconsidered: A Theory of Political Regimes in Africa," IDEI Working Papers 233, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2005.
  5. Deininger, Klaus, 2003. "Causes and consequences of civil strife - micro-level evidence from Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3045, The World Bank.
  6. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "Repression or Civil War?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 292-97, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Brückner, Markus & Ciccone, Antonio, 2007. "Growth, Democracy, and Civil War," CEPR Discussion Papers 6568, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Silje Aslaksen & Ragnar Torvik, 2006. "A Theory of Civil Conflict and Democracy in Rentier States," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(4), pages 571-585, December.
  10. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2010. "International Commodity Prices, Growth and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 519-534, 05.
  11. Garfinkel, Michelle R. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2007. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier.
  12. Jack Hirshleifer, 1991. "The Paradox Of Power," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(3), pages 177-200, November.
  13. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
  14. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
  15. James D. Fearon, 2005. "Primary Commodity Exports and Civil War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 49(4), pages 483-507, August.
  16. Paul Collier & Dominic Rohner, 2008. "Democracy, Development, and Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 531-540, 04-05.
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