Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
This collection of 14 papers by Mansoob Murshed and several co-authors is essential reading for scholars interested in the economics of conflict. It covers a large variety of research questions, includes both theoretical and empirical papers, presents both country case studies and cross-national studies, and provides policy implications. Almost all chapters deserve a detailed review, but I focus on three. Chapter 7 'Conflict and fiscal capacity' (originally co-authored by Abdur R. Chowdury) deals with the long-term impact of wars on state capacity and provides a brilliant combination of theory and empirics, points out a crucial topic for scholars of conflict and highlights the author's approach and versatility. Some chapters are rather unconventional, covering topics that are not common in the literature. Chapter 12 'Spatial-horizontal inequality and the Maoist conflict in Nepal' (originally co-authored by Scott Gates) explains how horizontal inequalities – based on the overlapping between caste and ethnicity – have stimulated the Maoist insurgency and suggests ways of reducing poverty and inequalities. Not surprisingly, it is the most cited work on this conflict. Chapter 13 (originally co-authored by M. Zulfan Tadioeddin) is also brilliantly unconventional. It deals with routine violence in Indonesia, a neglected topic because it is neither political nor purely criminal and it often throws scholars into the sea hoping they can swim. Some determinants differ with respect to other forms of violence. Alongside a large set of empirical results, it is worth noting that – distinctly from other types of violence – the association between poverty rates and routine violence appears to be substantial. This book is a must-read for both experienced scholars and PhD students and it deserves to be hugely influential.