Spatial–Horizontal Inequality and the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal

Journal article

Murshed, S. Mansoob & Scott Gates (2005) Spatial–Horizontal Inequality and the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal, Review of Development Economics 9 (1): 121–134.


The Maoist insurgency in Nepal is one of the highest intensity internal conflicts in recent times. Investigation into the causes of the conflict would suggest that grievance rather than greed is the main motivating force. The concept of horizontal or intergroup inequality, with both an ethnic and caste dimension, is highly relevant in explaining the Nepalese civil war. There is also a spatial aspect to the conflict, which is most intense in the most disadvantaged areas in terms of human development indicators and land holdings. Using the intensity of conflict (fatalities) as the dependent variable and HDI indicators and landlessness as explanatory variables, the authors find that the intensity of conflict across the districts of Nepal is significantly explained by the degree of inequalities.

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