The Micro-foundations of Social Contracts, Civil Conflicts, and International Peace-Making


Prof. Mansoob Murshed, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague

This paper explores the micro-foundations of conflict generation and persistence within the traditional greed and grievance non-cooperative set up between a government and a rebel group. We expand the traditional model in various ways. First, we allow for the reaction curves of both parties in non-cooperative games to be substitutes and not inevitably complementary, so a peaceful strategy from a group may be followed by a belligerent upsurge from the other. Second, we also allow for diasporas’ transfers to rebel groups, thus generating a trade-off between the gains associated with peace and war among rebels. Third, we expand external aid in the form of fungible financing of government transfers ‘buying’ peace by allowing for mechanisms that induce behavioural change towards peace in a cooperative model of principal-agent well-intended (Nordic-like) donors. These extensions provide a better understanding of conflict persistence, the consequences of competing international aid and why sub-optimal sanctions provision (‘cheap talk’) by the international community are frequent.

About the speaker
Prof. Murshed is a professor of International Economics at the Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham (since 2004) and professor of the Economics of Conflict and Peace at ISS, the Hague. Prof. Murshed also holds PorHonorary position at the USE (Utrecht School of Economics), University of Utrecht and the Centre for the Study of Civil War at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). He has extensive experience with international organizations, and national governments (in Europe and Asia). Prof. Murshed has written extensively in international journals on Development economics, including economics of transition, international trade and trade policy. He is also author of books, including Economic Aspects of North-South Interaction: Analytical Macroeconomic Issues (1992), Macroeconomics for Open Economies (1997) and Understanding Civil War: a Rational Choice Approach (forthcoming 2009).

Venue: Conference Room, 4th Floor, UNU-MERIT

Date: 23 October 2008

Time: 16:00 - 17:15


UNU-MERIT