The Costs of Contention

The Costs of Contention project seeks to understand how diverse forms of political conflict and violence (e.g. genocide, civil war [insurgency/counter-insurgency], human rights violations, protest, protest policing, terrorism, counter-terrorism, revolution, counter-revolution) influence various key political and economic outcomes, such as the type of political system, mass participation, economic development and foreign direct investment. In previous research, our understanding of the overall costs of conflict and violence has been limited by studying too narrow categories political conflict and violence as well as political and economic outcomes. The current project opens up the categories of contention and costs in order to achieve a comprehensive analysis of the real costs of contention. Additionally, the project seeks to explore not only global patterns but also sub-national and individual level patterns and processes.

The research effort is complex in that it involves using pre-existing data in new ways, as well as collection and analysis of new unique data across time and at multiple levels of analysis (i.e., the globe, specific country cases, and individual level data from specifically-targeted matched locations within the cases). The project will be attentive to numerous potential biases: e.g., gender differences in costs of contention, and the existence and meaning of missing data. The project will also engage in establishing an appropriate baseline for comparison, and combine diverse databases in new ways to allow us to study individual effects as well as general patterns across compiled information. The information emerging from this research will have significant potential use. Most importantly, project outputs will provide evidence-based early warning of likely challenges for recovery and development efforts in the post-conflict period, for policy-makers, practitioners, and other stakeholders engaged in recovery efforts. This can significantly improve the lives of those who would otherwise suffer without informed policy options.

 

Project Website
The Costs of Contention

Investigators
Christian Davenport, Faculty Associate, Center for Political Studies