Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Publications

 

December 1, 2011

Economic Shocks and Conflict: The (Absence of?) Evidence from Commodity Prices - Working Paper 274

One of the most influential ideas in the study of political instability is that income shocks provoke conflict. “State prize” theories argue that higher revenues increase incentives to capture the state.“Opportunity cost” theories argue that higher prices decrease individual incen-tives to revolt. Both mechanisms are central to leading models of state development and collapse. But are they wellfounded? We examine the effects of exogenous commodity price shocks on conflict and coups, and find little evidence in favor of either theory. Evidence runs especially against the state as prize. We do find weak evidence that the intensity of fighting falls as prices rise—results more consistent with the idea that revenues augment state capacity, not prize-seeking or opportunity cost. Nevertheless,the evidence for any of these income-conflict mecha-nisms is weak at best. We argue that errors and publication bias have likely distorted the theoret-ical and empirical literature on political instability.

Samuel Bazzi and Chris Blattman
July 22, 2011

Constraints to Domestic Enterprise Financing in Post-Conflict Liberia - Working Paper 260

This paper examines the efficacy of loan programs in the development of domestic enterprises in the immediate aftermath of conflicts. The author explores whether the strategies employed by such programs are effective and if there are opportunities for improving the outcomes of similar projects in post-conflict environments.

John Gorlorwulu
March 2, 2011

Failed States, Vicious Cycles, and a Proposal - Working Paper 243

Failed states often suffer the repeated return to power of former warlords who weaken institutions and make people poorer. In this working paper, Rajan argues that the only way to break the cycle of dictators is to empower the citizenry through economic growth. In the case of failed states, he proposes a unique solution to allow the electorate to choose an impartial foreigner to govern the country and lay the foundations for good governance and sustainable economic progress.

Raghuram G. Rajan