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Policy Research Report: Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy (2003)

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Report also available
French and Spanish.
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 with contributions from V.L. Elliott, Havard Hegre, Anke Hoeffler, Marta Reynal-Querol, and Nicholas Sambanis.


Press release (EnglishEspanolFrancaisJapanese)

Full text (English)

Overview (Francais)

Transcript of Press Conference, May 14, 2003 (English)

Conflict and Development: a View from the Ground (Feature Story, English)

Related World Bank web sites

The Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Unit 

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