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Working Paper

3

Carrot or Stick? Redistributive Transfers Versus Policing in Contexts of Civil Unrest

Published on 1 December 2007

Recurrent episodes of civil unrest significantly reduce the potential for economic growth and poverty reduction. Yet the economics literature offers little understanding of what triggers civil unrest in society and how to prevent it. This paper provides a theoretical analysis in a dynamic setting of the merits of redistributive transfers in preventing the onset of (and reducing) civil unrest and compare it with policies of more direct intervention such as the use of police.

We present empirical evidence for a panel of Indian states, where conflict, transfers and policing are treated as endogenous variables. Our empirical results show, in the medium term,redistributive transfers are both a more successful and cost-effective means to reduce civil unrest. Policing is at best a short-term strategy. In the longer term, it may trigger furthersocial discontent.

Authors

Image of Patricia Justino

Patricia Justino

Professorial Fellow

Publication details

published by
IDS
authors
Justino, P.
journal
MICROCON Research Working Paper, volume 3

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