Most of the contemporary literature on civil war regards explanations rooted in political and economic grievances with considerable suspicion. Applying statistical tools to the problem, some of the most influential research, including studies by Paul Collier and his team at Oxford University, and James Fearon and David Laitin at Stanford University, draws the conclusion that ethnic groups’ frustrations do not drive patterns of political violence. This research has had a strong impact well beyond academic circles.
In a nutshell, these researchers argue that ethnic frustrations are too widespread to be linked to internal conflict. Continue reading