Patterns of Civil Wars

Why Study Civil Wars?

Why Study Civil Wars?

Source: blattman 2010

Where?

Where?

What is a civil war?

  • Armed conflict between organised actors within a state
  • Mostly government vs rebel group(s)
    • 1,000 battle deaths
    • 25 battle deaths
  • Government massacres excluded

Causes of Civil Wars

1. Motivation (aka grievances)

Sources of Grievances

Gains and Losses

  • Collective disadvantages (aka horizontal inequality)
  • Loss of political autonomy
  • Repression and Political exclusion

Sources of Grievances

Diversity?

  • Ethnic and religious fractionalization: Counterintuitive effect
    • See also Chewas and Tumbukas article
  • Vertical Inequality: No discernible effect

Sources of Grievances

Climate Change?

Source: "Buhaug et al, 'One effect to rule them all? A comment on climate and conflict', Climatic Change (2014) 127:391–397

Causes of Civil Wars

2. Feasibility

Greed vs. Grievances

  • Grievances, aka motivation

  • Greed, aka opportunity
    • Collier: "Grievance is to a rebel organization what image is to a business"

Does Motivation really matter?

  • Ethnic tensions \(\rightarrow\) civil war

OR

  • Civil war \(\rightarrow\) ethnic tensions ?

Greed

What matters is feasibility. Feasibility depends on:

  • Whether you can get recruits \(\rightarrow\) opportunity costs
  • Feasibility of fighting

Opportunity costs

Factors that lead young men (mostly) to choose fighting over other activities \(\rightarrow\) facilitates recruitment

  • Poverty
  • Fast population growth
  • Low economic growth / decline
    • Spurious?
  • Education

\(\Rightarrow\) Typical profile: Young, uneducated male

Opportunity costs

Source: Blattman 2010

Feasibility

Recruiting

  • Problem of free-riding
  • Solutions
    • Ideological beliefs
    • Trust from same ethnic or religious group
    • Forcible recruitment
    • Large population

Feasibility

State capability

Source: BBC

Feasibility

Finance: Natural Resources

  • Oil and Diamonds
    • Highly lootable
    • Provides financial resources to sustain war

Feasibility

Geography