State capacity and violence in civil war: Counterintuitive evidence from Colombia
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The paper analyses the relationship between state capacity and political violence with reference to the Colombian civil war. It disaggregates the concept of state capacity into three components: non-violent, routine violent, and extra-ordinary violent ones. Theoretically speaking, each of them may have a different effect on insecurity. The standard argument in political conflict literature proposes that violence in civil war increases with the weakness of the state. Such a claim implies that an increase in state capacity should reduce conflict-related insecurity. Econometric analyses of municipal-level data from Colombia show that this conjuncture need not be true. The paper demonstrates that the rapid increase in the extra-ordinary violent capacity of the state on the Colombian Pacific Coast nearly doubled the amount of non-state political violence in the region between 2003 and 2009.
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