Question for this helpdesk report:
- To what extent do economic factors drive instability and conflict in the Western Balkans? - Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia
This report looks at each of the 6 Western Balkans countries, identifies the economic challenges they face and assesses whether any of these are, or have the potential to become, drivers of conflict. The literature reviewed largely comprised reports from international development/finance organisations, notably the World Bank, IMF and European Commission, as well as journal and newspaper articles.
The conclusion is that, while all countries in the region face serious economic challenges, these are not per se drivers of conflict. To date the main effect of these – particularly of high unemployment – seems to be to drive outward migration from the Western Balkans to more advanced economies in Europe. But, as economic stresses grow, and at a time when the European Union is itself facing economic crisis, it is questionable whether this situation – economic factors not leading to social unrest – is sustainable, particularly given the presence of significant other (non-economic) conflict drivers in most countries.
Idris. I., & Strachan, A. (2017). Economic Drivers of Conflict in the Western Balkans. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies, 20p