Abstract Title

State Capacity and Armed Civil Conflict: Evidence from a decade-long Civil War in Nepal

Description

Utilizing the Civil War in Nepal which lasted from 1996 to 2006, this paper addresses two issues: First, civil conflicts predominantly occur in weak states, which are states that lack state capacity, however, it is unclear why not all weak states experience civil conflict. Second, political stability and unequal distribution of resources are opposing forces that are unlikely to coexist together. Nevertheless, cross-country literature on civil conflict finds little relationship between conflict and the unequal distribution of resources. I use an exogenous shock—the massacre of the King and ten other members of the royal family in 2001 in Nepal—to identify the variation in conflict before and after 2001. Whereas the conflict in Nepal was isolated and sparse in the pre-2001 period, it immediately escalated and became more pervasive in the aftermath of the massacre. Employing a difference-in-differences framework, by comparing the Maoist insurgency in Nepal with that in India, I find a six-fold increase in conflict outcomes in the period after the massacre relative to the period before. While the massacre provided the opportunity for conflict, mass armed conflict would have been unlikely without a motive. In the post-massacre period, I find that conflict outcomes at least doubled in districts with unequal distribution of land relative to more equal districts.

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Dec 4th, 12:00 AM

State Capacity and Armed Civil Conflict: Evidence from a decade-long Civil War in Nepal

Utilizing the Civil War in Nepal which lasted from 1996 to 2006, this paper addresses two issues: First, civil conflicts predominantly occur in weak states, which are states that lack state capacity, however, it is unclear why not all weak states experience civil conflict. Second, political stability and unequal distribution of resources are opposing forces that are unlikely to coexist together. Nevertheless, cross-country literature on civil conflict finds little relationship between conflict and the unequal distribution of resources. I use an exogenous shock—the massacre of the King and ten other members of the royal family in 2001 in Nepal—to identify the variation in conflict before and after 2001. Whereas the conflict in Nepal was isolated and sparse in the pre-2001 period, it immediately escalated and became more pervasive in the aftermath of the massacre. Employing a difference-in-differences framework, by comparing the Maoist insurgency in Nepal with that in India, I find a six-fold increase in conflict outcomes in the period after the massacre relative to the period before. While the massacre provided the opportunity for conflict, mass armed conflict would have been unlikely without a motive. In the post-massacre period, I find that conflict outcomes at least doubled in districts with unequal distribution of land relative to more equal districts.