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Distributional Conflict, The State, and Peacebuilding in Burundi

  • Léonce Ndikumana

This paper examines the causes of conflict in Burundi and discusses strategies for building peace. The analysis of the complex relationships between distribution and group dynamics reveals that these relationships are reciprocal, implying that distribution and group dynamics are endogenous. The nature of endogenously generated group dynamics determines the type of preferences (altruistic or exclusionist), which in turn determines the type of allocative institutions and policies that prevail in the political and economic system. While unequal distribution of resources may be socially inefficient, it nonetheless can be rational from the perspective of the ruling elite, especially because inequality perpetuates dominance. However, because unequal distribution of resources generates conflict, maintaining a system based on inequality is difficult because it requires ever increasing investments in repression. It is therefore clear that if the new Burundian leadership is serious about building peace, it must engineer institutions that uproot the legacy of discrimination and promote equal opportunity for social mobility for all members of ethnic groups and regions.

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Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp105.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp105
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  1. Paul Collier, 2000. "Ethnicity, Politics and Economic Performance," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 225-245, November.
  2. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2355, The World Bank.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2004. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Development Working Papers 193, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  4. Ndikumana, Leonce, 2004. "Additionality of debt relief and debt forgiveness, and implications for future volumes of official assistance," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 325-340.
  5. Ndikumana, Leonce, 2001. "Fiscal Policy, Conflict, and Reconstruction in Burundi and Rwanda," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Grossman, Herschel I, 1999. "Kleptocracy and Revolutions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(2), pages 267-83, April.
  7. Kisangani Emizet & Léonce Ndikumana, 2003. "The Economics of Civil War: The Case of the Democratic Republic of Congo," Working Papers wp63, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  8. Paul Collier, 2000. "How to Reduce Corruption," African Development Review, African Development Bank, vol. 12(2), pages 191-205.
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