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Strategic Mass Killings

  • Joan Esteban
  • Massimo Morello
  • Dominic Rohner

SinceWorld War II there have been about fifty episodes of large-scale mass killings of civilians and massive forced displacements. They were usually meticulously planned and independent of military goals. We provide a model where con?ict onset, con?ict intensity and the decision to commit mass killings are all endogenous, with two main goals: (1) to identify the key variables and situations that make mass killings more likely to occur; and (2) to distinguish conditions under which mass killings and military conflict intensity reinforce each other from situations where they are substitute modes of strategic violence. We predict that mass killings are most likely in societies with large natural resources, signi?cant proportionality constraints for rent sharing, low productivity and low state capacity. Further, massacres are more likely in a civil than in an interstate war, as in the latter group sizes matter less for future rents.In non polarized societies there are asymmetric equilibria with only the larger group wanting to engage in massacres. In such settings the smaller group compensates for this by fighting harder in the first place. In this case we can talk of mass killings and ?ghting e¤orts to be substitutes. In contrast, in polarized societies either both or none of the groups can be ready to do mass killings in case of victory. Under the "shadow of mass killings" groups fight harder. Hence, in this case massacres and fighting are complements. We also present novel empirical results on the role of natural resources in mass killings and on what kinds of ethnic groups are most likely to be victimized in massacres and forced resettlements, using group level paneldata.

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Paper provided by Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford in its series OxCarre Working Papers with number 045.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:045
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  1. William Easterly & Roberta Gatti & Sergio Kurlat, 2006. "Development, democracy, and mass killings," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 129-156, June.
  2. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2009. "Beyond greed and grievance: feasibility and civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-27, January.
  3. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Wayne Nafziger, E. & Auvinen, Juha, 2002. "Economic Development, Inequality, War, and State Violence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 153-163, February.
  5. Andre, Catherine & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 1998. "Land relations under unbearable stress: Rwanda caught in the Malthusian trap," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-47, January.
  6. Päivi Lujala & Jan Ketil Rod & Nadja Thieme, 2007. "Fighting over Oil: Introducing a New Dataset," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(3), pages 239-256, July.
  7. Christopher Cramer, 2003. "Does inequality cause conflict?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 397-412.
  8. 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.
  9. Azam, Jean-Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2001. "Violence Against Civilians in Civil Wars: Looting or Terror?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  10. Scully, Gerald W, 1997. " Democide and Genocide as Rent-Seeking Activities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(1-2), pages 77-97, October.
  11. Sang Hoo Bae & Attiat Ott, 2008. "Predatory Behavior Of Governments: The Case Of Mass Killing," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 107-125.
  12. Walter, Barbara F., 2006. "Information, Uncertainty, and the Decision to Secede," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 105-135, January.
  13. Nils B. Weidmann & Jan Ketil Roslashd & Lars-Erik Cederman, 2010. "Representing ethnic groups in space: A new dataset," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(4), pages 491-499, July.
  14. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
  15. William Easterly, 2006. "Development, Democracy, and Mass Killings," Working Papers 93, Center for Global Development.
  16. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  17. JoseG. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2008. "Discrete Polarisation with an Application to the Determinants of Genocides," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(533), pages 1835-1865, November.
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