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The article discusses the relationship between the civil war duration and ethnic polarization. The arguments in the article provide that civil wars are key barriers to the development of the economy. Civil wars lead to the destruction of infrastructure, loss of human life and have an effect on future prospects for investment.
The causes of civil wars can be analyzed in relation to their onsets, the duration of the wars, as well as the incidence of civil wars. Civil wars may start randomly, after which conflicts emerge. Factors such as a country having mountains where rebels can hide also contribute to the onset of civil wars.
Civil wars may also emanate from low per capita income; this makes a civil war last longer than it would have lasted if the per capita income was high. Lack of democracy may also trigger a civil war as rebels form militia groups in order to oust an undemocratic regime (Montalvo & Reynal-Querol 123-143).
The available literature indicates that certain factors can be attributed to the onset of civil wars. One of the methods used in the estimation of the civil war onset includes logic regression, which analyses some of the causes as high population, with high primary commodity exports, as well as a population that is highly dispersed. Inequalities in incomes, ethnic differences and political liberties may not be significant risk factors for civil war.
The available literature also indicates another probable causes of civil war which is oil exports in a country. An analysis on the incidence of civil war shows ethnic polarization as one of the factors affecting the incidence of such wars (Montalvo & Reynal-Querol 123-143).
Analysis by Montalvo and Reynal-Qureol shows that democracy and export have little impact on civil wars. In terms of duration of civil wars, Gates and Strand estimate that major factors influencing this issue are political instability, parallel conflicts and autocratic regimes. Studies also indicate that income inequality can be regarded as a main cause of civil wars (Montalvo & Reynal-Querol 123-143).
Certain methods can be used to explain the relationship that exists between civil wars incidence and ethnic polarization. One method, which can be utilized, is the traditional ration form, which defines a quadratic based cost function, contest success function, as well as pure contest equilibrium.
Another model that can be employed to establish relationship between conflict and ethnic polarization, is taking a country that consists of two social groups. This model shows that the discovery of a natural resource may trigger violence between the two groups.
The methodology used to establish the relationship between civil wars and ethnic polarization is also based on measuring the duration in relation to years, months, weeks, as well as days (Montalvo & Reynal-Querol 123-143).
Methods such as Kaplan-Meier estimation of the survival function can be used to establish the relationship existing between ethnic polarization and duration of civil wars. Based on this method, survival function of countries that have low ethnic polarization tends to be dominated by nations with high ethnic polarization (Montalvo & Reynal-Querol 123-143).
As indicated in the results provided in the article, ethnic polarization has a profound impact on civil war duration. More pronounced ethnic polarization indicates that the civil wars will last longer than expected.
Therefore, ethnic disparities within a population may cause civil wars that may even last for decades. Attention should be directed at polarized countries in order to come up with measures, which will ensure civil wars do not take a toll on the population (Montalvo & Reynal-Querol 123-143).
Montalvo, Jose & Marta Reynal-Querol. “Ethnic polarization and the duration of civil wars”. Econ Gov 11 (2010):123–143. Print.