Spatial–Horizontal Inequality and the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal

14 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2016

See all articles by Syed Mansoob Murshed

Syed Mansoob Murshed

Institute of Social Studies (ISS)

Scott Gates

Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) ; University of Oslo

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Date Written: February 2005


The Maoist insurgency in Nepal is one of the highest intensity internal conflicts in recent times. Investigation into the causes of the conflict would suggest that grievance rather than greed is the main motivating force. The concept of horizontal or intergroup inequality, with both an ethnic and caste dimension, is highly relevant in explaining the Nepalese civil war. There is also a spatial aspect to the conflict, which is most intense in the most disadvantaged areas in terms of human development indicators and land holdings. Using the intensity of conflict (fatalities) as the dependent variable and HDI indicators and landlessness as explanatory variables, the authors find that the intensity of conflict across the districts of Nepal is significantly explained by the degree of inequalities.

Suggested Citation

Murshed, Syed Mansoob and Gates, Scott, Spatial–Horizontal Inequality and the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal (February 2005). Review of Development Economics, Vol. 9, Issue 1, pp. 121-134, 2005, Available at SSRN: or

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