Wartime Violence and Post-Conflict Development Policy: The Case of Agricultural Concessions in Mozambique
Widely hailed as a paragon of successful post-conflict development policy, the Government of Mozambique has focused its economic aspirations on the promise of biofuel exports over the past decade. It has made hundreds of agricultural concessions to corporations in the biofuels industry. However, this land use competes with pre-existing local claims on arable land and water resources, possibly heightening food insecurity in rural areas. In response, local groups have sought to oppose the concessions, thus securing their land grants. We investigate whether the magnitude and recentness of wartime violence influence the success of communities in opposing agricultural concessions and securing community land grants. We test this and two alternative hypotheses with districtlevel data on biofuels concessions, recognized community landholdings, and civil war events generated in a geographic information system. Controlling for demographic, geographic, and market access factors, we find that while the recentness of violence may actually galvanize community cohesion and reinvigorate local institutional capacity, the intensity of violence plays a more nuanced role, associated, as it is, with higher levels of both corporate concessions (locally undesirable) and community land grants (locally desirable). We suggest that these findings are consistent with the idea that violence heightens community cohesion, but degrades connections between the local and national levels.
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