Inequality and Armed Conflict: Evidence and Policy Recommendations

Policy brief

Bahgat, Karim; Gray Barrett; Kendra Dupuy; Scott Gates; Solveig Hillesund; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Siri Aas Rustad; Håvard Strand; Henrik Urdal & Gudrun Østby (2017) Inequality and Armed Conflict: Evidence and Policy Recommendations, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

Research shows that the onset and recurrence of armed conflict is likely where high inter-group inequalities exist. Groups that have strong shared identities, a collective perception of ill treatment, and opportunities to take up arms are likely to use violence to rectify existing inequalities. Policy makers can take concrete steps to reduce group-level inequalities through measures that share political and economic power between groups, ensure the fair distribution of public goods and services, and recognize cultural identities.

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