Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Conflict and the Evolution of Institutions: Unbundling Institutions at the Local Level in Burundi
Voors, M.J. ; Bulte, E.H. - \ 2014
Journal of Peace Research 51 (2014)4. - ISSN 0022-3433 - p. 455 - 469.
civil-war - violent conflict - armed conflict - consequences - rwanda - uganda - land - africa - health
The impact of armed conflict may persist long after the end of war, and may include a lasting institutional legacy. We use a novel dataset from rural Burundi to examine the impact of local exposure to conflict on institutional quality, and try to ‘unbundle’ institutions by distinguishing between three dimensions of the institutional framework: property rights security, local political institutions, and social capital. We find that conflict exposure affects institutional quality, and document that the impact of conflict on institutional quality may be positive or negative, depending on the institutional measure. Specifically, exposure to violence strengthens in-group social capital and promotes tenure security. However, the appreciation for state institutions is negatively affected by exposure to violence. We find no evidence consistent with design-based theories of institutional quality, or the idea that institutional quality is enhanced by interventions of (non)state external actors. Instead our findings provide some support for the theory of parochial altruism. Our results emphasize the importance for policymakers to consider autonomous responses to conflict when designing development programs. They further imply some caution for actors seeking to reform local institutions through top-down interventions.
Natural Resources and Violent Conflict
Nillesen, E.E.M. ; Bulte, E.H. - \ 2014
Annual Review of Resource Economics 6 (2014)1. - ISSN 1941-1340 - p. 69 - 83.
civil-war - armed conflict - diamonds - curse - dataset - oil - determinants - information - dependence - countries
We discuss the literature on natural resources and violent conflict. The theoretical literature is rich and ambiguous, and the empirical literature is equally multi-faceted. Theory predicts that resource booms or discoveries may attenuate or accentuate the risk of conflict, depending on various factors. Regression analyses also produce mixed signals, and point to a plethora of mechanisms linking resources to conflict. The empirical literature is gradually evolving from cross-country conflict models to micro-level analyses, explaining variation in local intensity of conflict. This transition has resulted in more credible identification strategies, and an enhanced understanding of the complex relation between resources and conflict.
Armed conflict distribution in global drylands through the lens of a typology of socio-ecological vulnerability
Sterzel, T. ; Lüdeke, M. ; Kok, M. ; Soysa, I. De; Walther, C. ; Sietz, D. ; Lucas, P. ; Janssen, P. - \ 2014
Regional Environmental Change 14 (2014)4. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 1419 - 1435.
climate-change - civil-war - violent conflict - african sahel - dataset - desertification - institutions - patterns - risk
Motivated by an inconclusive debate over implications of resource scarcity for violent conflict, and common reliance on national data and linear models, we investigate the relationship between socio-ecological vulnerability and armed conflict in global drylands on a subnational level. Our study emanates from a global typology of smallholder farmers’ vulnerability to environmental and socioeconomic stresses in drylands. This typology is composed of eight typical value combinations of variables indicating environmental scarcities, resource overuse, and poverty-related factors in a widely subnational spatial resolution. We investigate the relationships between the spatial distribution of these combinations, or vulnerability profiles, and geocoded armed conflicts, and find that conflicts are heterogeneously distributed according to these profiles. Four profiles distributed across low- and middle-income countries comprise all drylands conflicts. Comparing models for conflict incidence using logit regression and ROC (Receiver Operator Characteristic) analysis based on (1) the set of all seven indicators as independent variables and (2) a single, only vulnerability profile- based variable proves that the non-linear typology-based variable is the better explanans for conflict incidence. Inspection of the profiles’ value combinations makes this understandable: A systematic explanation of conflict incidence and absence across all degrees of natural resource endowments is only reached through varying importance of poverty and resource overuse depending on the level of endowment. These are non-linear interactions between the explaining variables. Conflict does not generally increase with resource scarcity or overuse. Comparison with conflict case studies showed both good agreement with our results and promise in expanding the set of indicators. Based on our findings and supporting literature we argue that part of the debate over implications of resource scarcity for violent conflict in drylands may be resolved by acknowledging and accounting for non-linear processes.
Violent Conflict and Behavior: a Field Experiment in Burundi
Voors, M.J. ; Nillesen, E.E.M. ; Bulte, E.H. ; Lensink, B.W. ; Verwimp, P. ; Soest, D.P. van - \ 2012
American Economic Review 102 (2012)2. - ISSN 0002-8282 - p. 941 - 964.
parochial altruism - time-preferences - civil-war - risk - stress - humans - societies - tanzania - vietnam - rwanda
We use a series of field experiments in rural Burundi to examine the impact of exposure to conflict on social, risk, and time preferences. We find that conflict affects behavior: individuals exposed to violence display more altruistic behavior towards their neighbors, are more risk-seeking, and have higher discount rates. Large adverse shocks can thus alter savings and investments decisions, and potentially have long-run consequences—even if the shocks themselves are temporary.
Social norms, tenure security and soil conservation: Evidence from Burundi
Beekman, G. ; Bulte, E.H. - \ 2012
Agricultural Systems 108 (2012). - ISSN 0308-521X - p. 50 - 63.
investment incentives - resource-management - civil-war - land - institutions - cooperation - uganda - rights
We use a new dataset from war-torn Burundi to explore how various institutional proxies affect investments in soil conservation. We “unbundle” institutions and distinguish between various proxies for tenure security and social norms. While we find significant correlations between certain proxies for tenure and social norms on the one hand, and investments in erosion management on the other, this is not true for all proxies. Using local conflict measures as instruments for institutional quality, we find tentative evidence of a causal effect of tenure security on erosion management, but not on investments improving short-term soil fertility.
Corruption, Development and the Curse of Natural Resources
Pendergast, S.M. ; Clarke, J.A. ; Kooten, G.C. van - \ 2011
Canadian Journal of Political Science 44 (2011)02. - ISSN 0008-4239 - p. 411 - 437.
cross-section-data - civil-war - growth - greed
In 1995, Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner found a negative relationship between natural resources and economic growth, and claimed that natural resources are a curse. Their work has been widely cited, with many economists now accepting the curse of natural resources as a welldocumented explanation of poor economic growth in some economies (e.g., Papyrakis and Gerlagh, 2004; Kronenberg, 2004). In this paper, we provide an alternative econometric framework for evaluating this claim, although we begin with a discussion of possible explanations for the curse and a critical assessment of the extant theory underlying the curse. Our approach is to identify natural resources that have the greatest rents and potential for exploitation through rent-seeking agents. The transmission mechanism that we specify works through the effect that rent seeking has on corruption and how that, in turn, impacts wellbeing. Our measure of wellbeing is the Human Development Index, although we find similar results for per capita GDP. While we find that resource abundance does not directly impact economic development, we do find that petroleum resources are associated with rent-seeking behavior that negatively affects wellbeing. Our regression results are robust to various model specifications and sensitivity analyses.
The Curse of Natural Resources
Wick, A.K. ; Bulte, E.H. - \ 2009
Annual Review of Resource Economics 1 (2009). - ISSN 1941-1340 - p. 139 - 155.
economic-growth - civil-war - developing-countries - export instability - commodity prices - dutch disease - rent-seeking - institutions - conflict - africa
A large literature has developed that documents a negative association between the presence of natural resources and economic development. In this paper we explore the empirics and theories of the so-called resource curse and try to assess its robustness. We conclude that there are many open questions and that the case of the curse needs revision and nuance
Resources for Sale: Corruption, Democracy and the Natural Resource Curse
Damania, R. ; Bulte, E.H. - \ 2008
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 8 (2008)1. - ISSN 1935-1682 - p. art. 5 - art. 5.
political-economy - rent-seeking - civil-war - big push - growth - institutions - allocation - booms
A puzzling piece of empirical evidence suggests that resource-abundant countries tend to grow slower than their resource-poor counterparts. We attempt to explain this phenomenon by developing a lobbying game in which rent seeking firms interact with corrupt governments. The presence or absence of political competition, as well as the potential costs of political transitions, turn out to be key elements in generating the `resource curse.¿ These variables define the degree of freedom that incumbent governments have in pursuing development policies that maximize surplus in the lobbying game, but put the economy off its optimal path. We test our predictions by adding measures of democracy and authoritarianism to existing regression models of the resource curse, and obtain support for our hypotheses
Linking Natural Resources to Slow Growth and More Conflict
Brunnschweiler, C.N. ; Bulte, E.H. - \ 2008
Science 320 (2008)5876. - ISSN 0036-8075 - p. 616 - 617.
Natural resources do not necessarily spell doom for development.
Environmental destruction as a counterinsurgency strategy in the Kurdistan region of Turkey
Etten, J. van; Vos, H. de; Jongerden, J.P. ; Klaasse, A. ; Hoeve, E. van - \ 2008
Geoforum 39 (2008)5. - ISSN 0016-7185 - p. 1786 - 1797.
armed conflict - civil-war - science - scale
We examine environmental aspects of the conflict between the Turkish state and the insurgent Kurdistan Workers Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan or PKK). Since the early 1990s, several civil society groups have claimed that the Turkish army burned forests and destroyed other livelihood resources in the Kurdistan region of Turkey as it evacuated settlements. We report the results of a case study of destruction in Tunceli, eastern Turkey, undertaken in order to evaluate support for such claims. We demonstrate the use of geospatial techniques in case-specific approaches to the study of armed conflict. Through the analysis of satellite images, we verified eyewitness reports and confirmed that substantial burnings did indeed take place in the study area between 1991 and 1994. We argue that this destruction was not irrational or wanton, but that it was part of a strategy used by the Turkish army in the early 1990s that aimed at actively transforming the war environment
Contesting Resources - Rent Seeking, Conflict and the Natural Resource
Wick, A.K. ; Bulte, E.H. - \ 2006
Public Choice 128 (2006)3-4. - ISSN 0048-5829 - p. 457 - 476.
civil-war - property-rights - growth - institutions
A growing empirical literature links natural resource abundance and "pointiness" to impeded economic growth and civil strife. We develop rent seeking and conflict models that capture the most salient features of contests for resource rents, and show how both resource abundance and geographical clustering can be associated with intense contests and sub-optimal economic performance. However, we also show that these relationships are not necessarily monotonous { pointiness can trigger more intense contests but can also facilitate the coordination on peaceful outcomes. Finally we show that contesting resources through violent conflict may yield superior outcomes (from an economy-wide perspective) than contests through rent seeking.
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