May 2000 Of the 27 major armed conflicts that occurred in 1999, all but two took place within national boundaries. As an impediment to development, internal rebellion especially hurts the world’s poorest countries. What motivates civil wars? Greed or grievance? Collier and Hoeffler compare two contrasting motivations for rebellion: greed and grievance. Most rebellions are ostensibly in pursuit of a cause, supported by a narrative of grievance. But since grievance assuagement through rebellion is a public good that a government will not supply, economists predict such rebellions would be rare. Empirically, many rebellions appear to be linked to the capture of resources (such as diamonds in Angola and Sierra Leone, drugs in Colombia, and timber in Cambodia). Collier and Hoeffler set up a simple rational choice model of greed-rebellion and contrast its predictions with those of a simple grievance model. Some countries return to conflict repeatedly. Are they conflict-prone or is there a feedback effect whereby conflict generates grievance, which in turn generates further conflict? The authors show why such a feedback effect might be present in both greed-motivated and grievance rebellions. The authors’ results contrast with conventional beliefs about the causes of conflict. A stylized version of conventional beliefs would be that grievance begets conflict, which begets grievance, which begets further conflict. With such a model, the only point at which to intervene is to reduce the level of objective grievance. Collier and Hoeffler’s model suggests that what actually happens is that opportunities for predation (controlling primary commodity exports) cause conflict and the grievances this generates induce dias-poras to finance further conflict. The point of policy intervention here is to reduce the absolute and relative attraction of primary commodity predation and to reduce the ability of diasporas to fund rebel movements. This paper – a product of the Development Research Group – is part of a larger effort in the group to study civil war and criminal violence
In the literature on civil conflicts, federalism is often touted as a useful institution to address regional demands. However, diversity in the groups present in a country is also associated with a higher tendency for conflicts. In this article we examine how the geographic distribution of groups across a country affects the ways in which federalism contributes to conflict resolution. Of tantamount importance in assessing these effects of federalism is whether particular types of distributions of groups across a territory make the adoption of federal institutions more likely. We find federal countries with strong ethno-federal arrangements to be particularly conflict-prone.
In countries affected by insurgencies, development programs may potentially reduce violence by improving economic outcomes and increasing popular support for the government. In this paper, we test the efficacy of this approach through a large-scale randomized controlled trial of the largest development program in Afghanistan at the height of the Taliban insurgency. We find that the program generally improved economic outcomes, increased support for the government, and reduced insurgent violence. However, in areas close to the Pakistani border, the program did not increase support for the government and actually increased insurgent violence. This heterogeneity in treatment effects appears to be due to differences between districts in the degree of infiltration by external insurgents, who are not reliant on the local population for support. The results suggest that while development programs can quell locally-based insurgencies, such programs may be counterproductive when implemented in areas where insurgents are not embedded in the local population.
The 2011 World development report looks across disciplines and experiences drawn from around the world to offer some ideas and practical recommendations on how to move beyond conflict and fragility and secure development. The key messages are important for all countries-low, middle, and high income-as well as for regional and global institutions: first, institutional legitimacy is the key to stability. When state institutions do not adequately protect citizens, guard against corruption, or provide access to justice; when markets do not provide job opportunities; or when communities have lost social cohesion-the likelihood of violent conflict increases. Second, investing in citizen security, justice, and jobs is essential to reducing violence. But there are major structural gaps in our collective capabilities to support these areas. Third, confronting this challenge effectively means that institutions need to change. International agencies and partners from other countries must adapt procedures so they can respond with agility and speed, a longer-term perspective, and greater staying power. Fourth, need to adopt a layered approach. Some problems can be addressed at the country level, but others need to be addressed at a regional level, such as developing markets that integrate insecure areas and pooling resources for building capacity Fifth, in adopting these approaches, need to be aware that the global landscape is changing. Regional institutions and middle income countries are playing a larger role. This means should pay more attention to south-south and south-north exchanges, and to the recent transition experiences of middle income countries.
Most quantitative assessments of civil conflict draw on annual country-level data to determine a baseline hazard of conflict onset. The first problem with such analyses is that they ignore factors associated with the precipitation of violence, such as elections and natural disasters and other trigger mechanisms. Given that baseline hazards are relatively static, most of the temporal variation in risk is associated with such precipitating factors. The second problem with most quantitative analyses of conflict is that they assume that civil conflicts are distributed uniformly throughout the country. This is rarely the case; most intrastate armed conflicts take place in the periphery of the country, well away from the capital and often along international borders. Analysts fail to disaggregate temporally as well as spatially. While other contributions to this issue focus on the temporal aspect of conflict, this article addresses the second issue: the spatial resolution of analysis. To adequately assess the baseline risk of armed conflict, this article develops a unified prediction model that combines a quantitative assessment of conflict risk at the country level with country-specific sub-national analyses at first-order administrative regions. Geo-referenced data on aspects of social, economic, and political exclusion, as well as endemic poverty and physical geography, are featured as the principal local indicators of latent conflict. Using Asia as a test case, this article demonstrates the unique contribution of applying a localized approach to conflict prediction that explicitly captures sub-national variation in civil conflict risk.
The article analyses peacebuilding theories and methods, as applied to justice system reform in post-conflict scenarios. In this respect, the international authorities involved in the reconstruction process may traditionally choose between either a ‘dirigiste’ or a consent-based approach, representing the essential terms of reference of past interventions. However, features common to most reconstruction missions, and relatively poor results, confirm the need for a change in the overall strategy. This requires international donors to focus more on the demand for justice at local levels than on the traditional supply of financial and technical aid for reforms. The article stresses the need for effectively promoting the local ownership of the reform process, without this expression being merely used by international actors as a political umbrella under which to protect themselves from potential failures.
This article examines the political geography of state building in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. The absence of interstate war has produced a unique situation for contemporary state builders in Africa; they have inherited states with relatively fixed borders encapsulating a variety of environmental and geographic conditions, compounded by varying distributions of population densities. The author examines the effects of a variety of strategies that African rulers have employed to enhance their state-building efforts given the type of national design they inhabit. These strategies include the allocation of citizenship, interventions in land tenure patterns, and the adoption and management of national currencies. The author tests the effects of these strategies on several dimensions of state capacity in sub-Saharan Africa from 1960 to 2004 using a variety of statistical analyses. The results indicate that the strategies currently adopted by African rulers have generally failed to substantially augment their capacity.
This article calls for a re-examination of the justification, formulation and implementation of DDR programming in certain post-conflict environments. Qualitative fieldwork among ex-combatants in Monrovia, Liberia, suggests that the extent and form of DDR programming must be more sensitive to and predicated on context, accounting for conflict histories and current socioeconomic conditions and local institutional capacity. Moreover, in some post-conflict societies, a better use of international community resources may be to delink disarmament and demobilization from reintegration, focusing reintegration resources instead on open-access jobs programmes with discrete, complementary bilateral or multilateral programmes for particularly vulnerable groups.
The brutal murder of 17 national staff members of Action Contre le Faim (ACF) in Sri Lanka in August 2006 and ambushes, kidnappings, and murders of aid workers elsewhere have captured headlines. This article reviews the prevailing explanations, assumptions, and research on why humanitarian actors experience security threats. The scholarly literature on humanitarian action is fecund and abundant, yet no comparative review of the research on humanitarian security and scholarly sources on humanitarian action exists to date. The central argument here is twofold. First, an epistemic gap exists between one stream that focuses primarily on documenting violence against aid workers “a proximate cause approach” while a second literature proposes explanations, or deep causes, often without corresponding empirical evidence. Moreover, the deep cause literature emphasizes external, changing global conditions to the neglect of other possible micro and internal explanations. Both of these have negative implications for our understanding of and therefore strategies to address security threats against aid workers.
As the rising death toll among humanitarian aid workers suggests, saving strangers has become a dangerous occupation. In addressing the consequences of this increase, this article begins by placing the development-security nexus in its historical context. While it has long been associated with liberalism, two factors distinguish this nexus today: first, the global outlawing of spontaneous or undocumented migration; second, the shift in the focus of security from states to the people living within them. Reflecting these moves, policy discourse now conceives development and underdevelopment biopolitically – that is, in terms of how life is to be supported and maintained, and how people are expected to live, rather than according to economic and state-based models. The household and communal self-reliance that forms the basis of this biopolitics, however, has long been in crisis. Since the end of the Cold War, the destabilizing forms of global circulation associated with this emergency have been reconstituted as threats to the critical infrastructures that support mass consumer society. A new security terrain now links the crisis of adaptive self-reliance with risks to critical infrastructure within a single framework of strategic calculation. Rather than ameliorating the generic life-chance divide between the global north and south, the development-security nexus is entrenching it.
Since the end of World War II, the norm of fixed borders-the proscription against foreign conquest and annexation of homeland territory-has gained prevalence in world politics. Although the norm seeks to make the world a more peaceful place, it may instead cause it to become more conflict prone. Among sociopolitically weak states-states that lack legitimate and effective governmental institutions-fixed borders can actually increase instability and conflict. Adherence to the norm of fixed borders can lead to the perpetuation and exacerbation of weakness in states that are already weak or that have just gained independence. It does so by depriving states of what was traditionally the most potent incentive to increase efforts of state building: territorial pressures. By creating conditions that are rife for the spillover of civil wars and by supplying opportunities for foreign predation, sociopolitically weak states in a world of fixed borders have become a major source of interstate conflict in much of the developing world. Investigation into one case, the war in Congo, reveals the plausibility and the potential force of this argument. Good fences indeed can make bad neighbors.