A Typology of Post-Conflict Environments: An Overview.


Despite the apparent decline in the global incidence of major armed conflict, there remain many countries in conflict and many others that are struggling with the legacy of recent violence. The majority of these countries are among the poorer and less developed ones. Increasing attention within the international community is therefore being paid to the inter-connections between sustainable peace-building and socio-economic development within a “post-conflict” environment.

Countries that are in a post-conflict stage of development differ in many important respects – in their economic state and potential, their political system, their bureaucratic capacities and the state of security in the country itself. All these variations are relevant to the appropriate design of post-conflict policies. Consequently, it may be helpful to develop a typology of situations confronted by post-conflict policy-makers, rather than expecting a one-size-fits-all approach to work. This paper develops such a typology.

For simplicity and because our focus is on economic recovery, we concentrate on three economic aspects to form our typology – the state of economic development; the presence of high-value natural resources; and the existence of sharp horizontal inequalities. We choose these three because they influence the probability of conflict recurrence and the nature of economic policies needed to achieve economic recovery.

We also discuss four other important differences in enabling conditions – the state of security, the commitments of the international community to the country, state capacity and the inclusivity of governments. These enabling conditions are of critical importance in determining what policies are possible and their likely effectiveness. We conclude by illustrating how actual conflict and post-conflict countries fit into the typology.


CRISE Working Paper No. 53, 23 pp.

A Typology of Post-Conflict Environments: An Overview.

Published 1 January 2008