Civil War and Citizens' Demand for the State: An Empirical Test of Hobbesian Theory
73 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 19, 2019
How does violence during civil war shape citizens' demand for state-provided security, especially in places where non-state actors compete with the state for citizens' loyalties? I draw on Hobbes's Leviathan to argue that in post-conflict settings, citizens who were more severely victimized by wartime violence should substitute away from localized authorities and towards centralized ones, especially the state. I test this Hobbesian argument using two surveys and a priming experiment in Liberia. I show that citizens who were more severely affected by violence during the Liberian civil war are more likely to demand state-provided security in the post-conflict period, both in absolute terms and relative to non-state alternatives. They are also more likely to comply with state authorities. More sporadic collective violence in the post-conflict period does not reverse this substitution effect. Also consistent with Hobbes, citizens who were more severely victimized are more fearful of threats to peace today.
Keywords: civil wars, violence, peacebuilding, statebuilding, Hobbes, Africa
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