From Conflict to Reconstruction: Reviving the Social Contract
WIDER Discussion Paper, 2001/48
Posted: 20 Nov 2014
Date Written: 2001
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: Suggested Citation