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Religious Differences and Civil War

Author

Listed:
  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Sadullah Yıldırım

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

Civil wars of today have deep roots in political and religious history. We examine how a society’s geographic distance to religious centers and the consequent historical differences between political rulers and religious segments of the population contributed to current levels of civil war. The theory is based on a political economy model that is centered on legitimizing function that religion plays for rulers vis-à-vis citizens. We test the resulting hypotheses using a new dataset that includes annual information on the religious and political histories of today’s nations since the year 1000. The results show that civil wars in the post-1960 period have been more likely in societies that experienced higher incidents of historical differences between rulers and a significant religious group before 1960. The results hold when we control for the geographic, historical, and institutional characteristics of countries. We address endogeneity concerns between religious differences and civil wars by exploiting variation across countries in their geographic distance to religious “capitals” of the world. Instrumental variable analysis indicates that the presence of historical religious differences that could be exploited by rulers accounts for a substantial portion of civil wars between 1960 and 2014. The results reflect the deep root effects of religious differences on current conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Sadullah Yıldırım, 2016. "Religious Differences and Civil War," Working papers 2016-05, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2016-05
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:1:p:20-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Coşgel, Metin & Histen, Matthew & Miceli, Thomas J. & Yıldırım, Sadullah, 2018. "State and religion over time," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 20-34.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Civil war; conflict; religion; historical roots; political economy; grievance; geographic distance; religious difference;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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