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A theory of civil conflict and democracy in rentier states

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  • Silje Aslaksen

    () (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Ragnar Torvik

    () (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

The effects of resource rents on the political equilibrium have been studied in two main types of models. The first tradition employs models of conflict, and studies how resource rents affect the intensity and duration of civil conflict. The second tradition employs political economy models, where resource rents affect the political equilibrium because the costs and benefits of buying votes change. Although providing much insight, a primary disadvantage of these two model traditions is that they have little to say about when democracy emerges, and about when conflict emerges. This question is simply determined by the type of model one chooses to study. Yet an important empirical literature suggests that a main effect of resource rents may be exactly that it affects the political choice between democracy and civil conflict. In this paper, by integrating the earlier model traditions, we suggest the simplest possible framework we can think of to study this choice. The institutional outcome in our theory is consequently endogenous. We show how factors such as resource rents, the extent of electoral competition, and productivity affect economic and political equilibria, and discuss how our approach, mechanisms and results differ from the earlier theories.

Suggested Citation

  • Silje Aslaksen & Ragnar Torvik, 2005. "A theory of civil conflict and democracy in rentier states," Working Paper Series 5805, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:5805
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten, 2008. "The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7101, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:8:y:2008:i:2:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Tim Willems & Shaun Larcom & Mare Sarr, 2014. "Dictators Walking the Mogadishu Line: How Men Become Monsters and Monsters Become Men," Economics Series Working Papers 701, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Raul Caruso & Jacopo Costa & Roberto Ricciuti, 2011. "The probability of military rule in Africa, 1970-2007," Working Papers 2011/26, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    5. Jørgen Juel Andersen & Frode Martin Nordvik & Andrea Tesei, 2017. "Oil and Civil Conflict: On and Off (Shore)," Working Papers No 1/2017, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
    6. Escobar, Octavio R. & Le Chaffotec, Alexandra, 2015. "The influence of OPEC membership on economic development: A transaction cost comparative approach," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 304-318.
    7. Frode Martin Nordvik, 2014. "Does Oil Promote or Prevent Coups?," Working Papers No 7/2014, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
    8. Kjetil Bjorvatn & Alireza Naghavi, 2010. "Rent Seekers in Rentier States: When Greed Brings Peace," Working Papers 2010.39, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    9. Nasrollahi Shahri, Nima, 2010. "Natural resource wealth “a truly double edged sword?”: a comparative study between Iran and Norway," MPRA Paper 25639, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2006. "Challenges and Opportunities for Resource Rich Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 5688, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Maldonado, Stanislao, 2014. "The Non-Monotonic Political Effects of Resource Booms," MPRA Paper 85649, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 18 Dec 2017.
    12. Cervellati Matteo & Fortunato Piergiuseppe & Sunde Uwe, 2012. "Consensual and Conflictual Democratization," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-51, December.
    13. repec:elg:eechap:15325_14 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Sekeris Petros, 2011. "Land Inequality and Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 1-18, January.
    15. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
    16. Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2010. "Aid and Conditionality," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    17. Gvozdeva, Margarita & Kazakova, M.V. & Kiblitskaya, T.R. & Lyubimov, I.L. & Nesterova, K.V., 2016. "Various Aspects of Natural Resource Wealth Effect on Economic Growth," Working Papers 2045, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    18. Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Naghavi, Alireza, 2011. "Rent seeking and regime stability in rentier states," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 740-748.
    19. Kevin K. Tsui, 2010. "Resource Curse, Political Entry, And Deadweight Costs," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 471-497, November.
    20. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Comparing the influence of conflict on the perceptions of rich and poor: testing the hypothesis of Acemoglu and Robinson," ISER Discussion Paper 0911, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    21. Diana Patricia Niño Muñoz, 2015. "Calidad de vida y el desarrollo institucional de los municipios petroleros de Colombia (2000-2010)," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 17(33), pages 203-230, July-Dece.
    22. Dibeh, Ghassan, 2008. "Resources and the Political Economy of State Fragility in Conflict States: Iraq and Somalia," WIDER Working Paper Series 035, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    23. Horatiu Rus, 2014. "Corruption, conflict and the management of natural resources," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 355-386, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political economy; Resource curse; Endogenous democratic institutions;

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

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