Poverty and Violent Conflict: A Micro-Level Perspective on the Causes and Duration of Warfare

Year: 2008 HiCN Working Paper No. 046

This paper argues that endogenous mechanisms linking processes of violent conflict and household poverty provide valuable micro foundations to the ongoing debate on the causes and duration of armed conflicts. Household poverty affects the onset, sustainability and duration of violent conflict due to the direct and indirect effects of violence on the economic behaviour and decisions of households in conflict areas. These effects lead to the emergence of symbiotic relationships between armed groups and households living in areas they control that may sustain the conflict for a long time. The strength of this relationship is a function of two interdependent variables, namely household vulnerability to poverty and household vulnerability to violence.