Gilles Carbonnier, 22 July 2017

Economists can help better understand and address some of today’s toughest humanitarian challenges. This column argues that the economics of war and disaster – which includes foreign aid – is largely untapped as a field of study and practice. While humanitarian economics has the potential to improve our knowledge of these problems, and the outcomes for those affected by them, it must take account of the ethical and epistemological issues, and the benefits of interdisciplinary cooperation.

Michael König, Dominic Rohner, Mathias Thoenig, Fabrizio Zilibotti, 26 June 2017

Debraj Ray, Joan Esteban, 04 July 2016

Hannes Mueller, Christopher Rauh, 20 October 2016

Effective forecasting of conflict risk could help prevent civil wars. But resource constraints mean that policymakers rarely act until conflict begins because they fear the number of false positive warnings. This column argues that the policy of reacting to violence instead of preventing it cannot be justified, given the accuracy of simple forecasting models such as news analysis.

Debraj Ray, Joan Esteban, 04 July 2016

Since 1950, more than half of the world’s countries have experienced situations of civil war. In this video, Debraj Ray and Joan Esteban discuss their research on the impact of conflict on economic development. In order to design the best possible institutions to cope with conflict, we need to understand the drivers of these conflicts. This video was recorded during the conference on “Economic Development and Institutions” held in Paris in June 2016.

Thorvaldur Gylfason, Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, Per Wijkman, 14 June 2014

The Ukraine saw EU soft power met by Russian hard power. This column argues that the EU should counter this hard power using trade policy, among other policies. EU members should agree a common policy and seek support from others to execute this policy. To date, the EU’s response has been too little, too late.

Eli Berman, Joe Felter, Jacob Shapiro, Erin Troland, 26 May 2013

Can foreign aid help countries emerge from civil war? This paper presents new research that suggests that injecting lots of money into conflict zones may in fact encourage corruption and violence. The aid community should focus on what it can do well: working closely with communities to target small-scale, modest improvements that can be implemented in conflict zones. If accompanied by a gradual improvement in the quality of governance, current aid recipients can aspire to a long-run improvement in both security and prosperity.

George Hall, Thomas Sargent, 19 May 2013

Can we learn from previous instances of fiscal prioritisation? This column surveys the US Treasury’s response to three wars – the Revolutionary War, The War of 1812 and the Civil War. Contemporary advocates of engaging in fiscal discrimination might ponder the actions of previous US Presidents Madison and Grant, who honoured all existing federal obligations despite challenging fiscal conditions.

Maarten Bosker, Joppe de Ree, 18 January 2012

Civil wars are devastating to a country’s development perspectives. What’s more, they often spread across borders. But this column argues that only ethnic civil wars pose a significant threat to neighbouring countries’ stability. Countries with ethnic links to a neighbouring ethnic conflict see their chances of experiencing civil conflict increase by six percentage points.

Torsten Persson, 19 September 2008

At the annual congress of the European Economic Association and the Econometric Society in Milan in August 2008, Torsten Persson, director of the Institute for International Economic Studies in Stockholm, delivered his Econometric Society presidential address on ‘State Capacity, Conflict and Development’ Afterwards, he spoke to Romesh Vaitilingam.about his research on these issues, preliminary findings of which suggest that rising commodity prices increase the chances of civil war breaking out in poor countries.

Antonio Ciccone, 07 January 2008

Since World War II, civil wars have killed more people than interstate conflicts. Poverty and low income growth have long been suspected as important causal factors, and new evidence suggests that drops in income raise the likelihood of civil war. However, democratic institutions may significantly alleviate such dangers.

Philippe Martin, Thierry Mayer, Mathias Thoenig, 04 January 2008

Civil war is a pivotal challenge for the development of the world’s poorest nations. Recent research finds that trade deters severe conflicts but fosters less severe ones. Here is the logic and evidence.

Antonio Ciccone, Markus Brückner, 19 November 2007

Between 1945 and 1999, there were around 127 civil conflicts and at least 1000 battles. The authors of CEPR DP6568 examine whether civil wars are partly caused by low economic growth, and whether the effects are significantly weaker in democracies. The results point to an interaction between economic and democratic institutional causes of civil war.

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