Economic Growth and Post-Civil War Peacebuilding

The Post-War Dilemma: War Outcomes, State Capabilities, and Economic Development after Civil War

What determines economic growth after civil wars? States emerging from civil war face a host of political, social, and economic challenges to recovery. But, extant research demonstrates that states with greater economic growth after civil war are more likely to sustain the peace. How, then, do post- civil war states achieve growth? What unique factors affect the economic prospects of post-civil war states? I suggest that, in the post-war period, states are sometimes forced to sacrifice slightly longer-term economic goals in order to satisfy short-term demands for political security. This in turn threatens the viability of sustained peace, presenting a difficult dilemma for decision- makers. In my dissertation, I argue that the process and outcome of the war, along with the capacity of the post-war state, affect the political and economic strategies adopted by the post-war government, other stakeholder states, the international community, and economic investors. The post-war state must decide whether or not to address pre-war rebel grievances and decide how much to invest in security as opposed to the economy. Stakeholder states must decide whether or not to intervene on behalf of the government or the opposition. The international community must decide whether or not to provide peacekeeping assistance and foreign aid. Economic investors must decide whether or not to invest. These strategies, in turn, have an effect on economic growth. 


I support my theory through a multi-method approach, using a cross-case analysis of all civil wars in the post-World War II period, as well as two case studies. Chapters 1 and 2 review the literature and present a theory of post-civil war economic growth. Chapter 3 describes the research design and the data used in the project. Chapter 4 presents the results of statistical tests of the theoretical model on all cases of civil war since World War II. Chapter 5 tests the theory on the case of the Biafra War in Nigeria. Chapter 6 tests the theory on the case of Mozambican Civil War. Chapter 7 presents the overall conclusions of the project.

The Post-War Dilemma: War Outcomes, State Capabilities, and Economic Development after Civil War (pdf)

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