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Explaining Civil War

A Rational Choice Approach Syed Mansoob Murshed, Professor of the Economics of Conflict and Peace, The Institute of Social Studies, the Netherlands, Professor of International Economics, Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, UK and honorary fellow, Peace Research Institute, Oslo, Norway (PRIO)
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.
Extent: 256 pp
Hardback Price: $129.00 Web: $116.10
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 84720 808 8
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Using the rational choice approach, Syed Mansoob Murshed analyses the motivations behind civil war and identifies growth and institutional failure as catalysts of the greed and grievance that characterise the onset and persistence of civil war.

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.

Explaining Civil War will be of interest to development economists and political scientists, as well as to students and researchers of political economy and conflict studies.
‘Conflict is now identified as one of the most significant sources of development failure and thus of growing income divergence between nations. Dr. Murshed’s book addresses the issues of weak institutions, conflict, and slow growth. It presents a synthesis of the existing theories, and provides many new insights. It will certainly be much consulted and read by academics, policy-makers and all those who are interested in the causes of conflict and post-conflict reconstruction.’
– Branko Milanovic, The World Bank

‘Masterfully integrating the logic of formal economic models, the insights of normative philosophy, and evidence from empirical analysis, Syed Mansoob Murshed explains civil wars. This is a brilliant, original work.’
– Scott Gates, PRIO and Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway

‘This masterly book succinctly surveys contemporary literature on the sources of conflict in developing countries as well as policies to secure a stable peace, including many insightful contributions by the author. The treatment of this important but controversial field is both informative and well balanced. It should be essential reading for all students and policy makers who believe that policy should be evidence-based.’
– Frances Stewart, University of Oxford, UK
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Growth and Conflict 3. Greed and Grievance 4. The Uneasy Commitment to Peace 5. The Social Contract and Lasting Peace 6. Post-War Economic Reconstruction 7. The Liberal Peace and Globalization 8. Conclusions References Index