NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Persistence of Civil Wars

Daron Acemoglu, Davide Ticchi, Andrea Vindigni

NBER Working Paper No. 15378
Issued in September 2009
NBER Program(s):   POL

A notable feature of post-World War II civil wars is their very long average duration. We provide a theory of the persistence of civil wars. The civilian government can successfully defeat rebellious factions only by creating a relatively strong army. In weakly-institutionalized polities this opens the way for excessive influence or coups by the military. Civilian governments whose rents are largely unaffected by civil wars then choose small and weak armies that are incapable of ending insurrections. Our framework also shows that when civilian governments need to take more decisive action against rebels, they may be forced to build over-sized armies, beyond the size necessary for fighting the insurrection, as a commitment to not reforming the military in the future.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15378

Published: Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2010. "Persistence of Civil Wars," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 664-676, 04-05.

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