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Essays on violent conflict in developing countries: causes and consequences

Rigterink, Anouk (2014) Essays on violent conflict in developing countries: causes and consequences. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis consists of three essays, on the causes and consequences of violent conflict. It focuses on two factors that are thought to play a role in violent conflict, natural resource abundance and the media. The thesis exploits quasi-experimental variation to investigate whether natural resources and violent conflict are related, and if so, through which mechanism. It finds that evidence from cross-country studies indicating that natural resources (as a single category) cause violent conflict is not as robust as popularly believed. Proxies for natural resource abundance used are potentially endogenous to conflict, and addressing this issue changes the results obtained radically. Agricultural resources are found to be negatively related to civil war onset. In the case of diamonds specifically, evidence is found that primary diamonds, but not secondary diamonds, are related to violence. Both results provide support for income (or opportunity cost) as mechanism connecting natural resources and violent conflict. Policy documents assert that media can play a state-building role in conflict situations. However, media could also induce anxiety, and there has been increasing interest in the role of anxiety in the formation of political attitudes. This thesis investigates the impact of intensity of exposure to radio broadcasts on fear of victimization and the impact of fear on political attitudes, in South Sudan. It concludes that individuals living in areas with better radio reception display a higher level of fear, and that anxious individuals are more likely to support a local militia and less likely to support the government army. The latter could be considered the opposite of state-building.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Anouk Sarie Rigterink
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Weinhold, Diana

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