Does peace trickle down? Micro-level evidence from Africa

Does peace trickle down? Micro-level evidence from Africa

Do peace agreements generate socio-economic peace dividends for citizens in post-war countries? While much research has focused on the elite level implications of peace agreements for the survival of peace, little is known about the micro-level, redistributive effects of peace agreements. We investigate the impact of peace agreement provisions and their implementation—specifically power-sharing arrangements—on individually reported measures of well-being. Building on a political economy theory of post-war politics, we conceptualize rebel organizations as political organizations that engage in distributive politics after conflict. 

As a result of such politically motivated redistribution, we expect an uneven manifestation of peace dividends on the micro-level that accumulates over the long-term. Specifically, we hypothesize that individuals with ethnic ties to rebel organizations that secure political power through a peace agreement perceive their well-being better than individuals without these links. To test this argument, we link data from recent Afrobarometer surveys to information on individuals’ ethnic ties to rebel organizations in power-sharing arrangements in four African post-war countries. Controlling for a battery of factors that might simultaneously predict an ethnic group’s propensity to gain political power and their members’ well-being, results from a wide range of fixed effects specifications indicate support for our hypothesis. Peace trickles down, but not to everyone equally.
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