Public Choice

, Volume 134, Issue 3–4, pp 347–366 | Cite as

Provoking a civil war

  • Lorenzo Rocco
  • Zié BalloEmail author


Nondemocratic governments under the rule of weak institutions use repression against the opposition to remain in power. Repression both muffles the opposition’s voice and strengthens the government’s supporters. Nevertheless, when repression becomes strong enough, it becomes intolerable to its victims who revolt and initiate a civil war. The government is aware of the mechanism and determines the level of repression accordingly. This paper studies the circumstances in which the ruler’s best alternative is to intensify repression to the point of provoking civil war. Although the model is abstract, its implications are discussed using the recent civil war in the Ivory Coast as a case study.


Civil war Provocation Repression Weak institutions Ivory Coast 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, BV 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.ARQADEUniversity of Toulouse IToulouseFrance

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