Explaining Civil War

Explaining Civil War

A Rational Choice Approach

Syed Mansoob Murshed

This book explores the pre-conditions for conflict in terms of growth failure and critically appraises the greed and grievance theories common to conflict literature. It is argued that various institutional mechanisms of restraint that can be labeled the ‘social contract’ are crucial for violent conflict avoidance. The reasons underpinning the instability of treaties ending civil wars, post-conflict reconstruction issues, liberal peace theory, and how globalization and conflict relate are also examined.

Chapter 6: Post-War Economic Reconstruction

Syed Mansoob Murshed

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, econometrics, game theory, politics and public policy, international relations, terrorism and security


INTRODUCTION The previous chapter was concerned with political institutions that foster lasting peace. In order to sustain peace, however, it is simply not sufficient to devise political mechanisms, be they power sharing arrangements or more long-term constitutional instruments, without ensuring that economic growth also ensues in the post-war period. In other words, securing lives without guaranteeing livelihoods will, like faith without charity, come to nothing. Political restructuring is meaningless without economic reconstruction. Nowadays, most civil wars take place in poor low-income economies; it is also widely accepted that growth failure, economic vulnerability and endemic poverty enhance conflict risk, as discussed in chapters 2 and 3. Reintegrating ex-combatants through successful demobilization policies, known as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) also requires economic recovery (see Humphreys and Weinstein, 2007). Successful, sustained and broad based economic growth has also come to be regarded as the ultimate antidote to conflict. The previous chapter on refashioning the social contract touched upon economic dimensions of the contract. These included fair division and a degree of fiscal decentralization; aims that cannot be realized without economic reconstruction and an expanding economic pie. For all these reasons, the policy maker in a post-conflict or post-accord situation must be concerned with rebuilding the economy.1 This objective has three dimensions, which need to be addressed simultaneously. There is, first of all, a reconstruction phase where it is necessary to rebuild not just damaged physical infrastructure, but also the framework within which economic policy is conducted, including fiscal, monetary and regulatory institutions....

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