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Insurgency and credible commitment in autocracies and democracies

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  • Keefer, Philip

Abstract

This paper suggests a new factor that makes civil war more likely: the inability of political actors to make credible promises to broad segments of society. Lacking this ability, both elected and unelected governments pursue public policies that leave citizens less well-off and more prone to revolt. At the same time, these actors have a reduced ability to build an anti-insurgency capacity in the first place, since they are less able to prevent anti-insurgents from themselves mounting coups. But while reducing the risk of conflict overall, increasing credibility can, over some range, worsen the effects of natural resources and ethnic fragmentation on civil war. Empirical tests using various measures of political credibility support these conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Keefer, Philip, 2007. "Insurgency and credible commitment in autocracies and democracies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4185, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4185
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bodea, Cristina & Higashijima, Masaaki & Singh, Raju Jan, 2016. "Oil and Civil Conflict: Can Public Spending Have a Mitigation Effect?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Democratization, Violent Social Conflicts, and Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 5643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Colin O’Reilly, 2014. "Investment and Institutions in Post-Civil War Recovery," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 56(1), pages 1-24, March.
    4. Bodea, Cristina, 2012. "Natural resources, weak states and civil war : can rents stabilize coup prone regimes ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6071, The World Bank.
    5. Thomas Flores & Irfan Nooruddin, 2009. "Financing the peace: Evaluating World Bank post-conflict assistance programs," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 1-27, March.
    6. Tim Wegenast, 2010. "Inclusive Institutions and the Onset of Internal Conflict in Resource-rich Countries," GIGA Working Paper Series 126, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    7. Elbadawi, Ibrahim & Milante, Gary & Pischedda, Costantino, 2008. "Referendum, response, and consequences for Sudan : the game between juba and khartoum," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4684, The World Bank.

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    Keywords

    Population Policies; Parliamentary Government; Economic Theory&Research; Social Conflict and Violence; Politics and Government;

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