On the Duration of Civil War

29 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Paul Collier

Paul Collier

University of Oxford - Blavatnik School of Government

Anke Hoeffler

University of Oxford - Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE)

Måns Söderbom

University of Oxford - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2001

Abstract

The duration of large-scale, violent civil conflict increases substantially if the society is composed of a few large ethnic groups, if there is extensive forest cover, and if the conflict has commenced since 1980. None of these factors affects the initiation of conflict. And neither the duration nor the initiation of conflict is affected by initial inequality or political repression.

Collier, Hoeffler, and Soderbom model the duration of large-scale, violent civil conflicts, applying hazard functions to a comprehensive data set on such conflicts for the period 1960-99. They find that the duration of conflicts is determined by a substantially different set of variables than those that determine their initiation. The duration of conflict increases substantially if the society is composed of a few large ethnic groups, if there is extensive forest cover, and if the conflict has commenced since 1980. None of these factors affects the initiation of conflict.

The authors also find that neither the duration nor the initiation of conflict is affected by initial inequality or political repression. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that rebellions are initiated where they are viable during conflict, regardless of the prospects of attaining post-conflict goals, and that they persist unless circumstances change.

This paper - a product of the Office of the Director, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to study large scale violent conflict. The authors may be contacted at pcollier@worldbank.org, anke.hoeffler@ox.ec.ac.uk, or mans.soderbom@ox.ec.ac.uk.

Suggested Citation

Collier, Paul and Hoeffler, Anke and Soderbom, Mans, On the Duration of Civil War (September 2001). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2681. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=632749

Paul Collier (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Blavatnik School of Government ( email )

10 Merton St
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4JJ
United Kingdom

Anke Hoeffler

University of Oxford - Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) ( email )

Oxford OX1 3UL
United Kingdom
+44 1865 274 554 (Phone)
+44 1865 274 558 (Fax)

Mans Soderbom

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom
+44-(0)1865 271084 (Phone)
+44-(0)1865 281447 (Fax)

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