uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Buying Peace? Oil Wealth, Corruption and Civil War, 1985-99
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Peace Research, ISSN 0022-3433, E-ISSN 1460-3578, Vol. 462, no 2, 199-218 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article argues that, contrary to received wisdom, political corruption is not necessarily associated with a higher risk of civil war in oil-rich states. Political corruption can be used to accommodate opposition and placate restive groups by offering private privilege in exchange for political loyalty. Since oil wealth is associated with large rents accruing in state treasuries, it provides an economic foundation for such clientelist rule. This article thus argues that oil-rich governments can use political corruption to buy support from key segments of society, effectively outspending other entrepreneurs of violence. Based on a logit analysis of civil war onsets, 1985-99, the article finds support for this 'co-optation argument'. A negative and statistically significant interaction term between oil production and political corruption is consistent across different models and robust to a number of specifications. While both variables per se increase the risk of conflict overall, higher levels of corruption seem to weaken the harmful impact of oil on the risk of civil war. This finding suggests the need for a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between natural resource wealth, governance and armed conflict. Political corruption has prolonged poverty and bred economic and political inequality in many oil-rich states, but it has also helped cement powerful alliances with a stake in the continuation of the corrupt regimes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 462, no 2, 199-218 p.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-109953DOI: 10.1177/0022343308100715ISI: 000264377200003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-109953DiVA: diva2:274836
Available from: 2009-11-02 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2010-12-29Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Sins of Omission and Commission: The Quality of Government and Civil Conflict
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sins of Omission and Commission: The Quality of Government and Civil Conflict
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Is the risk of civil conflict related to the quality of government? This dissertation contributes to the quantitative research on this topic. First, it provides a more nuanced account of the role of the government in influencing the risk of civil conflict. In doing so, the dissertation bridges a gap between the quantitative literature, which primarily focuses on types of regimes, and the qualitative literature, which emphasizes variations in how political authority is exercised within these institutions. Second, the dissertation introduces novel measures of the quality of government, and tests their association with civil peace across countries, over time. The dissertation consists of an introductory chapter and four separate essays. Essay I examines the risk of conflict across different types of authoritarian regimes. The statistical results suggest that single-party regimes have a lower risk of civil conflict than military and multi-party authoritarian regimes. The finding is attributed to the high capacity for coercion and co-optation within single-party institutions. Essay II studies whether cross-national variations in the occurrence of civil conflict are due to differences in the quality of government. The essay finds that governments that are not able to carry through such basic governing tasks as protecting property rights and providing public goods, render themselves vulnerable to civil conflict. The focus of Essay III is on patronage politics, meaning that rulers rely on the distribution of private goods to retain the support necessary to stay in power. The statistical results suggest that patronage politics per se increase the risk of conflict. The conflict-inducing effect is mediated by large oil-wealth, however, because the government can use the wealth strategically to buy off opposition. Essay IV argues that patronage politics can also lead to violent conflict between groups. The results from a statistical analysis, based on unique sub-national data on inter-group conflict in Nigeria, are consistent with this argument. Taken together, the findings of this dissertation suggest that both the form and degree of government have a significant influence on the risk of civil conflict.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Universitetstryckeriet, 2009. 42 p.
Report / Department of Peace and Conflict Research, ISSN 0566-8808 ; 88
civil conflict, civil war, quality of government, corruption, patronage politics, governance, authoritarian regimes, Nigeria
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-109960 (URN)978-91-506-2113-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-12-19, Auditorium Minus, Museum Gustavianum, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2009-11-27 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2009-11-27Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text
By organisation
Department of Peace and Conflict Research
In the same journal
Journal of Peace Research
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 194 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link