Indicators of Potential Conflict

MICROCON Policy Briefing No. 1

4 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2008

Date Written: 2008


This paper focuses on the main factors that contribute to the dangers of violent internal conflict erupting, or re-igniting after a peace has been concluded. The conflict literature has identified greed and grievance as the principle causes of conflict. But for either of them to take the form of large-scale violence there must be other factors at work, specifically a weakening of the 'social contract'. Such a viable social contract can be sufficient to restrain opportunistic behaviour such as theft of resource rents and violent expression of grievance. The social contract, therefore, refers to the mechanisms and institutions of peaceful conflict resolution. Three main risk factors are considered in this briefing: The breakdown of redistributive mechanisms, democratic transitions and lack of economic progress.

Keywords: conflict, civil war, greed versus grievance, social contract, democratic transition, redistributive mechanisms

JEL Classification: D72, D74, O10, O40

Suggested Citation

Murshed, Syed Mansoob, Indicators of Potential Conflict (2008). MICROCON Policy Briefing No. 1, Available at SSRN: or

Syed Mansoob Murshed (Contact Author)

Institute of Social Studies (ISS) ( email )

PO Box 29776
2502 LT The Hague, 2518 AX
+31 70 426 0591 (Phone)
+31 70 426 0799 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics