From Conflict to Reconstruction: Reviving the Social Contract

WIDER Discussion Paper, 2001/48

Posted: 20 Nov 2014

See all articles by Tony Addison

Tony Addison

United Nations University

Syed Mansoob Murshed

Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

Contemporary civil wars are rooted in a partial or complete breakdown of the social contract, often involving disputes over public spending, resource revenues, and taxation. A feasible social contract gives potential rebels something akin to a transfer. When this is improbable, and the potential spoils are rich then warfare is more likely. Grievances, not just pure greed, motivate war. But peace deals can also break down when commitments are not credible. Successful reconstruction after war must rebuild the social contract. The chances of success increase if the economy can achieve broadbased growth. If grievances can be satisfied by absolute improvements in living standards the present donor focus on absolute poverty reduction will be conducive to reviving the social contract. But if grievances are expressed in relative terms, governments and donors must also address inequality and regional gaps.

Keywords: conflict, contract, civil war, reconstruction

JEL Classification: C72, O15, O23

Suggested Citation

Addison, Tony and Murshed, Syed Mansoob, From Conflict to Reconstruction: Reviving the Social Contract (2001). WIDER Discussion Paper, 2001/48, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2528130

Tony Addison (Contact Author)

United Nations University ( email )

Katajanokanlaituri 6B
Helsinki, FIN-00160
Finland

Syed Mansoob Murshed

Institute of Social Studies (ISS) ( email )

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

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