This paper assesses the usefulness of emerging evidence-based studies in
advancing the current understanding of the relationship between violent
conflict and chronic poverty. Following a discussion of some key
concepts, recent empirical research is reviewed. Both the transmission
mechanisms from violent conflict through to chronic poverty and the
impact of chronic poverty on conflict are considered. The paper
concludes by identifying gaps in the current state of knowledge on this
subject and proposes an ambitious future research agenda.
This paper focuses on violent mass conflict, taking a dynamic view of
both violent conflict and chronic poverty. A micro-level perspective is
adopted, whereby impacts on individual and household poverty, exclusion
and deprivation are considered. The approach is considered well-suited
to uncover the links and dependencies of chronic poverty as both a cause
and a consequence of conflict. It is felt that understanding how
conflict develops at the micro-level will impact on how policies are
designed and how incentives to prevent conflicts and maintain peace are
Three key questions are addressed:
- Who are the chronically poor affected by/affecting violent conflict?
- How are the chronically poor affected by violent conflict?
- Do persistent levels of poverty impact on the likelihood of an
individual, household or group participating in violent conflict?
The review reveals that hard micro-level evidence on the relationship
between violent conflict and (chronic) poverty is scarce and at times
contradictory. However, this field of research is growing and some
conclusions can be drawn.
Violent conflict can cause chronic poverty and contribute to the
creation of poverty traps, the chronically poor are likely to suffer
disproportionately from violent conflict, and violent conflict can bring
benefits to some groups (including the chronically poor) which may
counterbalance the negative impacts.
In turn persistent poverty can create the grounds for increased social
discontent which can lead to violent conflict and chronic poverty may
lead individuals to become fighters as a form of coping with poverty
Justino, P. (2006) On the links between violent conflict and chronic poverty: how much do we really know? CPRC Working Paper No. 61, IDPM/Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK, ISBN: 1-904049-60-5, 21 pp.
On the links between violent conflict and chronic poverty: how much do we really know? CPRC Working Paper No. 61