Votes and Violence: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Nigeria

Elections are now common in low-income societies. However, they are frequently flawed. We investigate a Nigerian election marred by violence. We designed and conducted a nationwide field experiment based on anti-violence campaigning. The campaign appealed to collective action through electoral participation, and worked through town meetings, popular theatres and door-to-door distribution of materials. We find that the campaign decreased violence perceptions and increased empowerment to counteract violence. We observe a rise in voter turnout and infer that the intimidation was dissociated from incumbents. These effects are accompanied by a reduction in the intensity of actual violence, as measured by journalists.

Greed and Grievance in Civil War

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

Diasporas and conflict societies: conflict entrepreneurs, competing interests or contributors to stability and development?

This paper summarises our state of knowledge regarding diaspora engagement in conflict societies. It presents a map of possible diaspora contributions and their specific potential positive and negative impacts in societies experiencing or recovering from conflict. Following a discussion of diasporas and their motivations for engagement in their places of origin, the paper reviews the specific remittance, philanthropy, human capital and policy influence contributions, both positive and negative, that diasporas may make. Policy implications include the need more systematically to include considerations of diasporas in conflict/post-conflict interventions, and based on a more careful case-by-case analysis, using the provided map as a starting point. Such analyses can inform decisions of when to tolerate, unencumbered, diaspora engagement; when to facilitate or support such engagement; and when to consider strategic partnering with diaspora efforts. By mapping potential positive and negative influences of diasporas, the paper establishes why a more nuanced understanding of diasporas and peace and conflict is so important to policy and practice for a more peaceful world.

World Development Report 2011 : Conflict, Security, and Development

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.

All Conflict is Local: Modeling Sub-National Variation in Civil Conflict Risk

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.

Debating Darfur in the World

This article compares the debates and demonstrations about Darfur that have taken place in the Sudan, the United States, and Qatar and illuminates how political violence is apprehended and cultural identities are constructed. The rallies that occurred among Sudanese inside and outside the Sudan following the 2009 indictment of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are particularly revealing. Examining what has been represented worldwide as the first genocide of the twenty-first century brings to light the ideologies that are expressed in impassioned political positions. Ideology, which implicitly undergirds the mixed emotions with which the ICC warrant was received, has been fundamental to the Darfur story from the start of the crisis in 2003. Describing Darfur in three distinct sociopolitical arenas, one sees various scenarios that are akin to a play with multiple actors and scenes, each of which is contextually mediated and expertly produced. The disconnections, ruptures, and shifts in the flow of this narration point to the disparities in the situational, local, regional, and transnational forces at work.