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Political Economy of Conflict

Influence of development and allocation of economic resources on political conflict, including ethnic and religious strife. Influence of globalization on the propensity of societies toward violence.

Faculty of Human Sciences >> Conflict Studies

Minimize schedule Course schedule for the session: Spring / Summer 2021
Section Schedule Day Location Professor
ECS 5116 WA00
The course is prerecorded (asynchronous mode) and offered only online via Brightspace.
Course offered in English
May 03 - July 23 N/A Online Kathia Legare

This course: 

  • analyzes the influence of the development and allocation of economic resources on political conflict, including ethnic and religious strife.  

  • examines the influence of globalization on the propensity of societies toward violence.  

  • studies the role of economic factors on the outbreak of conflict, the war dynamics, the war termination, and the postwar recovery 

  • takes into account the complex conflict context as well the level of analysis. 

  • explores the main debates in the subfield – “greed vs grievance”“new vs old wars” – as well as the role of played by natural resources in fueling conflict.   


Demonstrate knowledge of the political economy aspects of conflict at different levels of analysis and in different contexts. 

Understand the main debates about the role played by the development and allocation of economic resources in conflict and war. 

Discuss critically the main studies and theoretical concepts. 


Students must read two to four articles every week, as indicated in the syllabus. Other readings are also listed.   

They have to submit one review of the readings for one of the classes of their choice (mandatory readings only)It has to synthesize the articles and critically discuss the arguments.  

They need to conduct their own research, identify a relevant research question, develop an argument and write a paper. 

They need to write one-page answers to three questions, which synthesize what has been learned during the semester. 


30 Review of readings 

  • Must be maximum 2?500 words, and structured as an essay (introduction, body, conclusion). It should summarize the argument, and assess the readings critically.  

  • Due on 7 June 2021 

1% Research plan 

  • The paper must analyze the political role played by economic factors during one or several conflicts or wars. Different strategies are possible: a comparative study of a specific stage of conflict, comprehensive case study of the different modes of illicit financing of an armed group or state, among other possibilities. 

  • The plan must include: research question(s), current knowledge of the topic (including a bibliography), and outline of the main ideas. 

  • Due date: 28 June 2021 

30 Research paper  

  • Must be based on the plan previously submitted 

  • Between 5?000 and 9?000 words 

  • Due date: 16 July 2021 

30% Final “take-home” exam  

  • One-page answers to three out of four questions 

  • Each answer must include the relevant theoretical concepts and at least one example/case study 

  • Questions will be made available on July 26. Answers are due on July 30. 

Mandatory Reading

(for the first few classes): 

Macartan, Humphreys, Economic and Violent Conflicts, February 2003. Online:  

Cederman, Lars-Erik and Manuel Vogt, Dynamics and Logics of Civil War, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 61/ 9, 2017. 

Zartman, I. William, Greed and Grievance: Methodological and Epistemological Underpinnings of the Debate, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 11/2, 2011. 

Duffield,?M.R.,?Globalisation, Transborder Trade and War Economiesin?Mats Berdal and David Malone (ed.), Greed and Grievance: Economic Agendas in Civil Wars,?Lynne Rienner,?2000. Online?: 

Braddon, Derek, The Role of Economic Interdependence in the Origins and Resolution of Conflict,?Revue d'économie politique, 122/2, 2012.  

Exenberger, Andreas and Simon Hartmann, The dark side of globalization. The vicious cycle of exploitation from world market integration: Lesson from the Congo, Working Papers in Economics and Statistics, No. 2007-31, University of Innsbruck, Department of Public Finance, Innsbruck, 2007.  Online?: 

Berdal, Mats, How 'new' are 'new wars'? Global economic change and the study of Civil War,?Global Governance, 9/4, 2003. Online: 

Kalyvas, Stathis, ‘New’ and ‘Old’ Civil Wars: A Valid Distinction? World Politics, 54/1, 2001. Online?: 

Morten Bøås, “The Liberian civil war: new war/old war?,?Global Society,?19/1, 2005:?73-88,?DOI:?10.1080/1360082042000316059 

Ransom, Roger L. and?Richard Sutch, «?Conflicting visions: The American Civil War as a revolutionary event?», Research in Economic History, 20, 2001. Online?: 

Arnson, Cynthia J., The Political Economy of War: Situating the Debate”, dans Cynthia J. Arnson and I. William Zartman (eds.), Rethinking the Economics of War: The Intersection of Need, Creed, and Greed, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2005.   

Collier, Paul, “Doing Well out of War?: An Economic Perspectivein?Mats Berdal and David Malone (eds.), Greed and Grievance: Economic Agendas in Civil Wars, Lynne Rienner,?2000. Online?: 

Le Billion, Philippe, “The political ecology of war: natural resources and armed conflicts”, Political Geography, 20/5, 2001: 561-584. Online: 

Aslam,?Rabia, Greed, creed, and governance in civil conflicts: a case study of Balochistan,?Contemporary South Asia,?19/2, 2011:?189-203DOI:?10.1080/09584935.2011.560654 

Ballentine, Karen and Heiko Nitzschke, The Political Economy of Civil War and Conflict Transformation, Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, 2005. Online: 

Keen, David, “Incentives and Disincentives for Violence in?Mats Berdal and David Malone (eds), Greed and Grievance: Economic Agendas in Civil Wars,?Lynne Rienner,?2000. Online?: 

Yazigi, Jihad.?Syria's war economy. Universitäts-und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt, 2014. Online:  

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