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Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy

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Civil war conflict is a core development issue. The existence of civil war can dramatically slow a country's development process, especially in low-income countries, which are more vulnerable to civil war conflict. When development succeeds, countries become safer; when development fails, countries experience greater risk of being caught in a conflict trap. Ultimately, civil war is a failure of development.

Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy identifies the dire consequences that civil war has on the development process and offers three main findings: (i) civil wars have adverse ripple effects, which are often not taken into account by those determine when to start or end a war; (ii) some countries are more likely than others to experience civil war conflict and therefore the risks of civil war differ considerable according to a country's characteristics, including its economic stability. Finally, the report explores viable international measures that can be taken to reduce the global incidence of civil war, and proposes a practical agenda for action.


Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy was written by Paul Collier (lead author) with contributions from V.L. Elliott, Havard Hegre, Anke Hoeffler, Marta Reynal-Querol, and Nicholas Sambanis.


Press release (EnglishEspanolFrancaisJapanese)

Full text (English)

Overview (Francais) PDF 67kb

Press conference transcript (English)

Feature stories on conflict and development

Related sites

The Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit 

The Economics of Conflict: Ongoing Research

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