Handbook on the Economics of Conflict
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Handbook on the Economics of Conflict

Edited by Derek L. Braddon and Keith Hartley

The Handbook on the Economics of Conflict conveys how economics can contribute to the understanding of conflict in its various dimensions embracing world wars, regional conflicts, terrorism and the role of peacekeeping in conflict prevention.
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Chapter 4: Modeling Mass Killing: For Gain or Ethnic Cleansing?

Attiat F. Ott and Sang Hoo Bae


Attiat F. Ott and Sang Hoo Bae An understanding of mass killing must begin with specific goals and strategies of high political and military leaders, not with broad social or political factors. (Valentino, 2004, p. 2) 4.1 INTRODUCTION The study of violent conflicts often begins with as yet an unanswered question: why do some conflicts give rise to the mass killing of the non-combatant or civilian population? Finding an answer or answers to this baffling question has occupied many social scientists, not only for the purpose of understanding such ‘inhumane’ behavior of rulers and rebels engaged in conflicts but also to seek solutions that could alter the path of conflicts. Incidents of mass killing of civilians in the twentieth century and especially in the twenty-first century have been the subject of study by both political scientists and economists. Most, if not all, begin with enumerating conflict-related civilian deaths and the geographical distribution of such conflicts. Tracing the history of mass killing from the communist revolution (1917–23) and the Holocaust (1939–45) to the twenty-firstcentury massacre in Afghanistan (2001),1 the common denominator of such atrocities has been the killing of civilians during civil wars. The geographical distribution seems to single out Africa as the continent plagued with massacre of women, children and the non-combatant civilian men of all ages. Of note is the fact that most of the violent conflicts are intrastate conflicts. Over the period of 1989–2004 there were 118 conflicts of which 90 were intrastate, 21...

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