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Threats to the stability of nations? Resources, identities and conflict

English title Threats to the stability of nations? Resources, identities and conflict
Applicant Gehring Kai
Number 174049
Funding scheme Ambizione
Research institution Institut für Politikwissenschaft Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Economics
Start/End 01.02.2018 - 31.01.2022
Approved amount 868'961.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Economics
Political science

Keywords (12)

GIS analysis; Conflict; Ethnic groups; Resources; Political Economy; Group identities; Inequality; Causal identification; Development Economics; Economic history; Separatism; Seccessionism

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Titel (deutsch):Ressourcen, gemeinsame Identitäten und Konflikte - Bedrohungen für die Stabilität von Nationalstaaten?Nationalstaaten stehen vor großen Herausforderungen und sehen ihre Stabilität von verschiedenen Seiten bedroht. Um dieser Herausforderung meistern zu können ist es notwendig, den komplexen Zusammenhang zwischen ökonomischen Faktoren wie Ressourcen sowie kulturellen Faktoren, insbesondere gemeinsamen Identitäten, und Konflikten besser zu verstehen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojekts

Aufbauend auf der Literatur über die optimale Größe einer Nation untersucht dieses Projekt den Zusammenhang zwischen der Verteilung von Ressourcen, kulturellen Faktoren wie der Stärke nationaler, regionaler, oder ethnischer Identitäten und der Stabilität eines Landes. Üblicherweise werden diese Einflussfaktoren in ökonomische und eine kulturelle Dimension eingeteilt. Diese Zweiteilung findet sich auch in der Literatur über die Gründe für entstehende Konflikte wieder, welche entweder einen auf „Gier“ basierenden eher ökonomischen Zusammenhang unterstellt, oder bestehende Spannungen zwischen gesellschaftlichen Gruppen hervorhebt. Das Ambizione Projekt untersucht beide Dimensionen, entwirft dabei aber auch neue Hypothesen und überwindet bestehende Gegensätze. Es erklärt einen möglichen Ursprung einer gemeinsamen Gruppenidentität, betont die Rolle einer ungleichen Verteilung von Ressourcen, und verbindet durch die Kombination beider Erklärungsdimensionen verschiedene Stränge in der Literatur.

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext

Das Projekt untersucht Themen, welche sowohl für die Volkswirtschaftslehre, die Politikwissenschaft aber auch für angrenzende Disziplinen wie Wirtschaftsgeschichte, ökonomische Geographie, Sozialpsychologie, Anthropologie oder Ethnologie relevant sind. Es erhebt und verarbeitet detaillierte Daten und nutzt moderne statistische und ökonometrisch Methoden, um wichtige ökonomische und politische Fragen zu beantworten, welche für eine große Anzahl Länder weltweit von hoher Relevanz sind und sein werden.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 04.12.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Regional resources and democratic secessionism
Gehring Kai, Schneider Stephan A. (2020), Regional resources and democratic secessionism, in Journal of Public Economics, 181, 104073-104073.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Universität Heidelberg Germany (Europe)
- Publication
Universität Salzburg Austria (Europe)
- Publication
Universität Lausanne Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Stanford University United States of America (North America)
- Publication
Universität Hannover Germany (Europe)
- Publication
Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik Germany (Europe)
- Publication
Uppsala University Sweden (Europe)
- Publication
IIES Stockholm Sweden (Europe)
- Publication
Universität St. Gallen Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Harvard Business School United States of America (North America)
- Publication
University of Chicago United States of America (North America)
- Publication
China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) China (Asia)
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
NBER Summer Institute Talk given at a conference China and the World Bank: How Contrasting Development Approaches Affect the Stability of African States 16.07.2019 Boston, United States of America Gehring Kai;
Invited Seminar talk University of Bergen Talk given at a conference Stimulant or Depressant? Resource-related Income Shocks and Conflict 20.09.2018 Bergen, Norway Gehring Kai;
Invited talk at workshop at Max Planck Institute Munich Talk given at a conference The Origins of Common Identity: Evidence from Alsace-Lorraine 13.09.2018 München, Germany Gehring Kai;
Invited Seminar talk CESifo Munich Individual talk Stimulant or Depressant? Resource-related Income Shocks and Conflict 12.09.2018 München, Germany Gehring Kai;
The 27th Silvaplana Workshop in Political Economy Talk given at a conference Stimulant or Depressant? Resource-related Income Shocks and Conflict 22.07.2018 Pontresina, Switzerland Gehring Kai;
Barcelona GSE Summer Forum Talk given at a conference Regional Resources and Democratic Secessionism 13.07.2018 Barcelona, Spain Gehring Kai;
Annual International Conference of the Research Group on Development Economics Talk given at a conference Farmers vs. Industrialists: Within-elite Conflict and its Effect on Industrialization in the US South 28.06.2018 Zürich, Switzerland Gehring Kai; Willi Lukas;
Invited Seminar talk University of Cologne Individual talk Stimulant or Depressant? Resource-related Income Shocks and Conflict 20.06.2018 Köln, Germany Gehring Kai;
The 23rd Spring Meeting of Young Economists (SMYE) Talk given at a conference The Origins of Common Identity: Evidence from Alsace-Lorraine 30.05.2018 Palma De Mallorca, Spain Gehring Kai;
European Public Choice Society Annual Meeting 2018 Talk given at a conference Farmers vs. Industrialists: Within-elite Conflict and its Effect on Industrialization in the US South 12.04.2018 Rom, Italy Gehring Kai;
Invited Seminar talk University of Leicester Individual talk Stimulant or Depressant? Resource-related Income Shocks and Conflict 22.02.2018 Leicester, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Gehring Kai;
Seminar HEC Lausanne Individual talk Farmers vs. Industrialists: Within-elite Conflict and its Effect on Industrialization in the US South 15.02.2018 Lausanne, Switzerland Gehring Kai;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Separatism on the rise: The role of regional resources VoxEU International 2020
Media relations: print media, online media Can Development Cooperation Ensure More Growth and Stability in Developing Countries? ifo Schnelldienst International 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) China und die Weltbank – Wie unterschiedliche Entwicklungsansätze die Stabilität in Afrika beeinflus Ökonomenstimme International German-speaking Switzerland 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) How does China’s development model affect state stability in African countries? AIdData First Tranche International 2019
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) The new World Bank head wants some changes. That could backfire. Washington Post Monkey Cage International 2019
Other activities Generelle Übersicht auf Webseite Italian-speaking Switzerland International Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2018

Awards

Title Year
Associate member of the European Development Network (EUDN). I was proposed as an associate member of the European Development Network (EUDN). 2018
CESifo affiliate member. I was accepted as an affiliate member of the CESifo, which is an international renowned network with its center in Munich. 2018
Research Group on Development Economics in the German Economic Association . I was proposed as a member of the Research Group on Development Economics in the German Economic Association. 2018

Abstract

The literature explaining conflict is still divided in proponents of a “greed” channel (e.g., Collier & Hoeffler, 2004) or “grievances” between ethnic or administrative regions (e.g., Cederman & Girardin, 2007) as the major drivers of conflict. My project emphasizes that both the distribution and profitability of resources (“greed”) and ethnic and regional identities (“grievances”) need to be simultaneously taken into account (relating to, e.g., Alesina et al., 2016; Morelli & Rohner, 2015). I exploit recent improvements in GIS technologies and new datasets to move beyond looking at macro level correlations between resources and political stability, and take the spatial distribution of resources and conflicts properly into account. To measure the direction of causality correctly, we propose or build on identification strategies using exogenous variation. The effects we want to measure depend on the type of resource, the political composition of governing coalitions and the underlying strength of national, regional and ethnic identities.Parts I to III of the project all examine the effect of income shocks for different kinds of resources on political stability. Part IV studies the formation of a common national identity, which is poorly understood so far. More specifically, Part I and II take conflict as an outcome and focus on establishing a causal link between resources and the outcome through quasi-experimental identification strategies, the use of local, geocoded datasets and the collection and processing of our own new data. Part I provides the first comprehensive analysis of the causal effect of development aid at the sub-national and ethnic group level for a large sample of countries. We apply instrumental variable-based identification strategies inspired by Dreher & Lohmann (2015) and Galiani et al. (2016). Part II considers the effect of an illegal and renewable resource on conflict: the attractiveness of growing opium and its relationship with conflict at the district level in Afghanistan. This relates most closely to two papers that study coca cultivation and conflict (Angrist & Kugler, 2008) and distinguish the effect of income shocks for different kind of resources on conflict (Dube & Vargas, 2013) in Colombia. We augment this scarce causal evidence and propose a new identification strategy based on an interaction instrument using shocks to complement drugs to circumvent the obvious problem of the opium price being endogenous to conflict in Afghanistan.Part III drafts a theoretical model, which embeds the effect of relative resource endowments into a common pool model which is solved by legislative bargaining (building on Persson & Tabellini, 2002). It then combines detailed and partly novel nformation on oil and mineral discoveries and their extent with information on ethnic groups and their political power status (relating to, for instance, Berman et al., 2017; Caselli & Tesei, 2016). Part IV relates to an emerging literature studying the origins of national identity (Alesina & Reich, 2014; Dell & Querubin, 2016), and exploits a natural experiment that provides exogenous variation within a formerly homogeneous region. The quality of all parts and results will significantly benefit from the Ambizione grant, specifically regarding the requested funding for coding ethnicity and conflict actors (Part III), drug markets and trafficking routes (Part II), the coding of the ethnicities of all government ministers in Africa and South-East Asia for Part III, and for running a geolocalized survey to better understand identity formation (Part IV). All parts fit into a currently strongly growing literature feeding a strong interest from the economic community into these topics.
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