Civil wars and conflict can be understood from an economic point of view only if there is incomplete contracting. I examine such settings and first discuss sources of incomplete contracting, from geography and ethnic and social distance to external interventions due to geopolitics or the presence of rents. Yet, since war is destructive, the contending parties might normally be expected to settle in the shadow of war. One reason that sometimes they do not, contrary to conventional wisdom, is because the shadow of the future is too long. Subsequently, using a formal model for guidance I examine some consequences of civil wars and emphasize the role hierarchical organization and rents play in determining the severity of conflict.
Warlords; Incomplete contracting; Conflict; Appropriation; Anarchy; Shadow of the future
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