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Coercion, Co-optation , or Co-operation?: State Capacity and the Risk of Civil War, 1961 - 2004
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
NTNU, Norway.
2009 (English)In: Conflict Management and Peace Science, ISSN 0738-8942, E-ISSN 1549-9219, Vol. 26, no 1, 05-25 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent research identifies state capacity as a crucial determinant of civil peace. Scholars often interpret the association between wealth and peace as state capacity effects, but they have not clearly distinguished the impact of administrative reach and capacity for coercion from those effects that may capture good governance related to the provision of political goods and quality of institutions.We revisit the relationship between state capacity and civil peace by suggesting three different pathways through which the state avoids violent challenges to its authority: coercion, co-optation, and cooperation.We evaluate these three different notions of governing capacity both analytically and empirically, and we find that high levels of government spending on political goods and trustworthy institutions are more significant predictors of civil peace than are states' coercive capacities.The results suggest that civil peace is co-produced by social and state forces, where quasi-voluntary cooperation from society increases state capacity for maintaining peace.This is good news for policies aimed at building state capacity, since there seems to be room for agency beyond simply waiting for societies to become wealthy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Sage Publication , 2009. Vol. 26, no 1, 05-25 p.
Keyword [en]
Armed conflict, Civil war, Contract-intensive money, Quality of governance, Relative political capacity, State capacity
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-109955DOI: 10.1177/0738894208097664ISI: 000263161800001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-109955DiVA: diva2:274837
Available from: 2009-11-02 Created: 2009-11-02 Last updated: 2010-12-30Bibliographically 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

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