The Colonial Origins of Civil War

33 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2007

See all articles by Simeon Djankov

Simeon Djankov

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); Peterson Institute for International Economics

Marta Reynal-Querol

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

The dominant hypothesis in the literature that studies conflict is that poverty is the main cause of civil wars. We instead analyze the effect of institutions on civil war, controlling for income per capita. In our set up, institutions are endogenous and colonial origins affect civil wars through their legacy on institutions. Our results indicate that institutions, proxied by the protection of property rights, rule of law and the efficiency of the legal system, are a fundamental cause of civil war. In particular, an improvement in institutions from the median value in the sample to the 75th percentile is associated with a 38 percentage points' reduction in the incidence of civil wars. Moreover, once institutions are included as explaining civil wars, income does not have any effect on civil war, either directly or indirectly.

Keywords: Institutions, Civil wars

JEL Classification: 011

Suggested Citation

Djankov, Simeon and Reynal-Querol, Marta and Reynal-Querol, Marta, The Colonial Origins of Civil War (May 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1003337 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1003337

Simeon Djankov

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Marta Reynal-Querol (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-458-7891 (Phone)

Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
93 5422590 (Phone)

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