Congo: The Prize of Predation
Ola Olsson () and
Heather Congdon Fors ()
Journal of Peace Research, 2004, vol. 41, issue 3, 321-336
The article analyzes the war against Mobutu (1996-97) and the more recent war (1998-) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with particular attention to greed and grievance as motivating factors in these two wars. Whereas the authorsâ€™ usage of the term â€˜greedâ€™ simply reflects the desire to gain control of natural resource rents, they model â€˜grievanceâ€™ as deliberate institutional differences, implemented by the ruler, between the formal and informal sectors. On the basis of quantitative and qualitative evidence, the authors outline a model of a predatory conflict between a kleptocratic ruler and a group of potential predators within a given region. The potential predators choose between peaceful production and predation on the ruling elite, who control the countryâ€™s natural resource rents. It is shown that institutional grievance between the formal and informal sectors, along with the relative strength of the rulerâ€™s defense, play a key role for the initiation of a war. This observation is used to explain the timing of the two wars analyzed in this article. The model also shows that once a war has commenced, the abundance of natural resources and the rulerâ€™s kleptocratic tendencies determine conflict intensity. This result is also well in line with experience from the most recent Congolese war.
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sae:joupea:v:41:y:2004:i:3:p:321-336
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