This series brings to a broad audience the results of World Bank research on development policy. The reports are designed to contribute to the debate on appropriate public policies for developing economies. Titles in this series undergo internal and external review under the management of the Research Group in the World Bank's Development Economics Vice Presidency.
(Washington, DC: World Bank and Oxford University Press, 2003) Collier, Paul; Elliott, V. L.; Hegre, Håvard; Hoeffler, Anke; Reynal-Querol, Marta; Sambanis, Nicholas
Most wars are now civil wars. Even
though international wars attract enormous global attention,
they have become infrequent and brief. Civil wars usually
attract less attention, but they have become increasingly
common and typically go on for years. This report argues
that civil war is now an important issue for development.
War retards development, but conversely, development retards
war. This double causation gives rise to virtuous and
vicious circles. Where development succeeds, countries
become progressively safer from violent conflict, making
subsequent development easier. Where development fails,
countries are at high risk of becoming caught in a conflict
trap in which war wrecks the economy and increases the risk
of further war. The global incidence of civil war is high
because the international community has done little to avert
it. Inertia is rooted in two beliefs: that we can safely
'let them fight it out among themselves' and that
'nothing can be done' because civil war is driven
by ancestral ethnic and religious hatreds. The purpose of
this report is to challenge these beliefs.