Working Paper
Paradise is a Bazaar? Greed, Creed, Grievance and Governance

This study examines the relative merits of grievance-based explanations of civil conflict that stress ‘Malthusian crises’ and ‘creed-related,’ civilizational clashes against competing propositions of greed- and governance-related explanations. The results from maximum-likelihood analyses on approximately 139 countries over the entire post-Cold War period find little support for Malthusian propositions. Abundant mineral wealth makes countries highly unstable, whereas scarcity of renewable resources is largely unrelated to civil conflict. There is some evidence suggesting that Malthusian crises are likely to be man made. Ethnicity is related to conflict when society is moderately homogenous and safer if highly plural. Large populations of Christians and Muslims within one society make countries remarkably safer, contrary to popular beliefs that ancient hatreds and Islamic militarism drive conflict. Trade to GDP (openness) is also strongly associated with peace.