Local Public Goods Insecurity, Conflict and the State: A Paradoxical Proposal

Transition, No. 34, February 2006

32 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2011  

Thomas B. Singh

University of Guyana - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 1, 2006


The Hirshleifer model of conflict is used to argue that without voluntary action to increase human security, the state may have extensive opportunities and incentives to increase the risk of conflict in the many poor countries where central governments provide local public goods. Metaphorically, the production technology for local public goods is like ‘energy,’ far out in the ‘likelihood of conflict’ sea. That energy, which is harmless and even potentially useful, can become dangerous, battering poor countries’ feeble defences against the likelihood of conflict, when ‘waves’ conserve and bring it to shore. These waves, which are the model’s preferences and perceptions, created endogenously by ‘conflict energy,’ might drive people to migrate in search of human security if they became malevolent and optimistic respectively, as would happen when the state exploits the local public goods production technology and subverts democratic political institutions to enhance its electoral prospects.

We propose a decentralised scheme, the ‘Hirshleifer Human Security’ Scheme, to neutralise the state and raise human security as a ‘shoaling’ mechanism for dissipating conflict energy and reducing the likelihood of conflict. The scheme has migrants from conflict-ridden societies providing local public goods, with contributions from donor agencies, development agencies and the state.

Keywords: Poverty, centralised provision of local public goods, poor governance, conflict, human security, conflict mitigation

JEL Classification: D72, D74, D78, H31, H32, H41, P16

Suggested Citation

Singh, Thomas B., Local Public Goods Insecurity, Conflict and the State: A Paradoxical Proposal (February 1, 2006). Transition, No. 34, February 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1790803

Thomas B. Singh (Contact Author)

University of Guyana - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 101110
Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown

Register to support our free research


Paper statistics

Abstract Views