Please be invited to a brownbag on Wednesday 1st of February from 12:00-13:30, in the War Room. Henrikas Bartusevicius will present the paper “Inequality-Intrastate Armed Conflict Re-Examined: Income, Education and Non-Ethnic Governmental Conflicts”
Abstract: Does unequal distribution of social goods increase the likelihood of protest and rebellion? Is there really a relationship between inequality and outbreak of intrastate armed conflicts? These questions have worried conflict students for decades. Yet, research on the so-called ‘inequality-conflict nexus’ has not resulted in conclusive findings. Most recently, conflict researchers have shifted their focus from interpersonal inequality (or vertical inequality) to intergroup inequality (or horizontal inequality). It has been argued that intrastate conflict is a consequence of the latter, but not the former. This shift, however, has resulted in an exclusive focus on ethnic conflicts. The relationship between inequality and non-ethnic conflicts, therefore, has largely been neglected. The present study aims to address this gap by implementing an empirical analysis of 89 non-ethnic governmental conflicts recorded between 1961 and 2009. The paper employs a number of previously unexploited data sets on measures of vertical inequality and shows that there is significant and positive relationship between inequality in income and education and the onset of non-ethnic governmental conflicts. In addition, the study demonstrates that inequality proxies outperform widely-established measure of general prosperity – GDP per capita – suggesting that it is relative, and not the absolute, wellbeing that is ultimately related to the outbreak of intrastate conflicts.