Good for the Money: International Finance, State Capacity, and Internal Armed Conflict

Things are pretty crazy around here with the impending school year and upcoming conference season.  However, since the country is currently swept up in credit rating mania, I figured I would take the time to pass along some new research that is immediately relevant and serves as a nice complement to the Pontichelli and Voth paper being discussed over at the Monkey Cage.  From my fellow Binghamton graduate students Matthew Digiuseppe and Colin Barry, as well as former Binghamton graduate student and current UNO faculty member Richard Frank:

Previous research indicates that a lack of state capacity is a key determinant of internal armed conflict.  Scholars identify several internal dimensions of state capacity, but have yet to explore how international finance influences state resources.  This is surprising because sovereign lending has increased dramatically in recent decades and plays an increasing role in the functioning of developed and developing governments. In this article, we explore this relationship between a state’s integration into global credit markets and its subsequent capacity to promote domestic stability.  We argue that international capital increases a state’s ability to respond to internal opposition because states with favorable credit terms can expand their resource base beyond domestic constraints to deter, accommodate, or repress opposition while maintaining a level provision of resources to their political base.  We examine the influence that both capital access and credit terms have on the risk of civil conflict in 141 countries from 1981-2007. Our empirical results indicate that states with affordable credit access are indeed less likely to experience civil conflict.

The paper can be found here.  It is forthcoming at the Journal of Peace Research.

About K. Chad Clay

K. Chad Clay is an assistant professor in the Department of International Affairs at the University of Georgia and co-director of the CIRI Human Rights Data Project. His research focuses on the impact of international factors on human rights practices, political violence, and economic development. He received his PhD in political science from Binghamton University in 2012.

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