Phillip Nelson

University of Essex

Phillip Nelson
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The Enterprise of Peace

Civil war is rare in Western countries. Economic development clearly correlates with more internally peaceful societies but debate continues as to the true drivers of this relationship. Many theories have been advanced, the most notable of which is the opportunity cost theory of rebellion, which presents a mechanism through higher income from work to a reduced incentive to engage in conflict. However, this theory assumes that all increases in the average income of a country will make people happier. But this is clearly not the case when markets fail.Individuals may find greater happiness in the goods they receive and how they receive them. Some have argued that public goods provision induces more peaceful societies but evidence for this is mixed. It is, therefore, not immediately obvious whether states hoping to foster peace should prefer public or private led growth, or the provision of certain goods over others.This research answers the research question – “which type of economic development is best suited to induce more internally peaceful societies?” – using quantitative methodology.