Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Horace Bartilow

Second Advisor

Dr. Karen Mingst

Abstract

The dissertation research answers the question of what explains the variation across countries where the IMF SAP implementation is associated with the onset of armed civil conflict in some countries but not in others. Do SAPs increase the likelihood of the outbreak of armed civil conflict in recipient countries? By what causal mechanism could SAPs increase the probability of the onset of armed civil conflict? This study contributes to extant literature by taking actors’ preferences and ethnicity in recipient countries into account. I argue that the effect of SAP implementation on armed civil conflict is conditional on the ethnic characteristics of recipient countries. From a two-level game perspective, highly ethnic-fractionalized countries have a strong bargaining position vis-à-vis the IMF at the international level due to their domestic weakness. Hence such governments will receive relatively moderate conditionality from the IMF because the Fund will adopt its second-order preference of containing the contagious effect of debt crisis and ensure the loan repayment. The ethnically fractionalized countries will also implement the austerity measures across different ethnic communities. The result is reducing probability of the onset of armed civil conflict when ethnic fractionalization increases. But in ethnically-dominant countries, the governments’ bargaining position at the international level is relatively weak due to their domestic strength. Therefore the governments are more likely to get stringent conditionality from the IMF because the Fund will adopt its first-order preference of satisfying its constituents by imposing stringent conditionality. The result is to increase the likelihood of the onset of armed civil conflict when ethnic dominance increases. By analyzing cross-national data for 162 countries from 1992 to 2009 based on improved measurement of IMF conditionality, the empirical results confirm the theoretical hypotheses. The statistical results also reveal that SAP impact on the outbreak of armed civil conflict varies with conditionality. Historical analyses of Ghana and Rwanda provide further understanding of the theoretical mechanisms.

Share

COinS