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46 J. Conflict Resol. 3 (2002)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr46 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Understanding Civil War


World Bank
Department of Political Science
Yale University

The   articles in this special issue of the Journal of Conflict Resolution are drawn from
the first round of a research project on civil war initiated by the World Bank.' Civil war
is pertinent to the World Bank because  it occurs disproportionately in low-income
countries and, evidently, further reduces income. Hence, it is of concern for an organi-
zation whose mission is poverty reduction. Because the World Bank is a financial insti-
tution, the instruments over which it has influence are primarily economic. One focus
of the project has therefore been to investigate the extent to which civil war might
have economic   causes, as well as the more evident economic  consequences.  How-
ever, the project's objective is wider than to help guide the Bank's own activities. To
date, in the international community,   many  policies toward  conflict have  been
guided by little more than rules of thumb derived by practitioners from their experi-
ence. Policy has not rested on a solid foundation of research-derived knowledge. The
ultimate goal of our research project is to stimulate the research community to pro-
vide these foundations.2
   If conflict has a substantial economic dimension, economists can make a positive
contribution to conflict analysis. Most contributors to this volume are economists, but
this does not presuppose that economics is more important-or even as important-as
political science in generating better research foundations for policy. Rather, it is an
effort to rectify what we perceive to be the relative neglect of economics in the study of
conflict and, correspondingly, the integration of conflict in the study of economics.
   Conflict policy and analysis can be divided into three areas: prevention, settlement,
and postconflict recovery. The articles in this collection discuss questions of relevance

     1. Most of these articles were first presented at a March 2000 conference on the Economics of Civil
Wars, cosponsored by the World Bank Research Department and Princeton University's Center for Interna-
tional Studies. Authors were invited to submit revised drafts for this issue. All articles were reviewed by two
anonymous referees and the special issue editors. A subset of submitted papers was accepted for publication.
    2. The project covers civil violence and crime broadly defined but has focused on civil war as the most
destructive form of violent civil conflict. For information on the project and related publications, see http://
www.worldbank.org/research/conflict/index.htm. The data files used in papers in this volume can be down-
loaded at www.worldbank.org3/research/conflict/data/index.htm and www.yale.edu/unsy/civilwars/
JOURNAL OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION, Vol. 46 No. 1, February 2002 3-12
© 2002 Sage Publications

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