There has long been an association between politics and violence. Factional disagreements can often lead to prolonged violence. At the same time, there is apparent evidence that the prospect or reality of power sharing can reduce violence – as with the Good Friday agreement and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, for example. At a time when factional violence, within a country or region, is evident in numerous parts of the world, research that examines how to prevent that violence is particularly relevant.
When we think about the consequences of war we tend to think about the immediate casualties, the lost lives and the injured. Yet war also has many debilitating long term economic effects, including some that make the prospects of further conflict and misery much more likely.
Strong institutions or democracy don’t always appear to alter the risk of conflict. Dominic Rohner and Mathias Thoenig offer a different take on the causes of civil conflict. Adopting an economic perspective, the authors explore the interconnected relationships between trade, trust and war, tracing the root causes of conflict to mistrust and a breakdown of trading relationships.