Skip to Content

UNU-WIDER Logo

30 Years of economics for development

Resources and the Political Economy of State Fragility in Conflict States: Iraq and Somalia

This paper studies state failure and governance in two conflict-states in the Middle East: Iraq and Somalia. Iraq is currently undergoing a social experiment under which a new form of government is being constructed after the passage of autocratic rule. The government envisaged is a consociational democratic state designed a priori as a political mechanism for the redistribution of resources, mainly oil. Somalia represents a stateless society or anarchy. The paper argues that in resource-rich countries such as Iraq, the consociational project leads to an Olson-type rent-seeking confessional behaviour that hampers economic growth and development. The rent-seeking behaviour in Iraq is fuelling the insurgency that perceives the consociational system as a grabbing attempt of the country’s resources by other ethnic groups. However, state construction is possible since there is a positive economic effect of combining government and resources. In Somalia, on the other hand, the developments and the evolution of anarchy since state collapse in 1991 exemplify the result of prolonged conflict in a resource-poor state. The lack of resources, direct access of producers to resources and low productivity and weak redistributional potential of combining resources and government offer no material incentives to the various groups for resurrecting central authority.
Publisher:
UNU-WIDER
Series:
WIDER Research Paper
Volume:
2008/35
Title:
Resources and the Political Economy of State Fragility in Conflict States: Iraq and Somalia
Authors:
Ghassan Dibeh
Publication date:
April 2008
ISSN Web:
1810-2611
ISBN 13 Web:
9789292300814
Copyright holder:
© UNU-WIDER
Copyright year:
2008
Keywords:
fragile states, political economy, resources
JEL:
D72, D74, N45, N55
Project:
Fragility and Development
Sponsor:
UNU-WIDER gratefully acknowledges the financial contributions to the project by The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the UK Department for International Development—DFID.
Format:
online
Back to Top

^ Back to top

1995-2014 United Nations University - World Institute for Development Economics Research

© CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGODisclaimer | Terms of Use
UNU-WIDER, Katajanokanlaituri 6 B, FI-00160 Helsinki, Finland
Tel: +358(0)9 6159911 | Fax: +358(0)9 61599333
mail: wider@wider.unu.edu/firstname.lastname@wider.unu.edu