Concessions and Repression in Conflict
50 Pages Posted: 5 May 2013 Last revised: 9 Jun 2017
Date Written: July 21, 2015
We build a model for predicting civil wars where the government bargains with a rebel group using concessions and repression. The equilibrium is either a state of perpetual peace where there are concessions but no repression, or a state of repressive equilibrium that can lead to civil wars. At the lowest levels of political competition, a move towards open electoral participation decreases the ability of the state to use repression to limit challengers, increasing the likelihood of war. At higher levels, an increase in competition decreases the probability of war by increasing concessions to the rebel group. Increasing concessions makes war less likely because it decreases the spoils of war and provides one explanation for the non-monotonicity found between probability of civil war and democracy. We test the prediction of this non-linearity using the technique in Hansen (2000) and find evidence consistent with the model.
Keywords: Civil War, Concessions, Repression
JEL Classification: D02, D74, O12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation