Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Caruso, Raul

Ed. by Böhmelt, Tobias / Bove, Vincenzo / Kibris, Arzu / Sekeris, Petros

4 Issues per year


CiteScore 2016: 0.39

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.225
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.322

Online
ISSN
1554-8597
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 20, Issue 1 (Jan 2014)

Issues

Volume 17 (2011)

Volume 4 (1996)

Volume 3 (1995)

Volume 2 (1994)

Volume 1 (1993)

Vertical Inequality, Land Reform, and Insurgency in Colombia

Thomas Edward Flores
  • Corresponding author
  • George Mason University, The School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 3351 N. Fairfax Drive, MSN 4D3, Arlington, VA 22201, USA
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-01-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2013-0058

Abstract

How can we understand the origins and resilience of Colombia’s long-running insurgency? A leading theory emphasizes the feasibility of insurgency, identifying drug trafficking as the main culprit. I propose an alternative theory of civil violence that emphasizes how bargaining over property rights in the face of deep vertical inequality deepens the subordinate group’s social identity, heightens its sense of grievance, and facilitates collective violence. An examination of the history of land reform struggles in Colombia echoes this pattern. Struggles over land reforms in the 1920s and 1930s created new patterns of collective action that helped sustain campesino groups in the “independent republics” of the 1950s and 1960s and the creation of the FARC in 1964. This analysis suggests that the Colombian state’s lack of credibility on issues of land reform demands a significant third-party enforcement of any peace agreement and confidence-building measures between the FARC and the Colombian government.

Keywords: Colombia; vertical inequality; land reform; civil war

References

  • Acemoglu, D., Robinson, J.A., (2006), Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • Acemoglu, D., Johnson, S., Robinson, J.A., (2006), Institutions as the Fundamental Cause of Long-run Growth, in Handbook of Economic Growth, volume 1A, North Holland, pp. 385–472.Google Scholar

  • Albertus, M., Kaplan, O., (2013), Land Reform as a Counterinsurgency Policy: Evidence from Colombia, Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 57, pp. 198–231.Google Scholar

  • Alchian, A., Demsetz, H., (1973), The Property Right Paradigm, The Journal of Economic History, vol. 33, pp. 16–27.Google Scholar

  • Anderson, T.L., Hill, P.J., (2003), The Evolution of Property Rights, in Anderson Terry L., McChesney, Fred S., (eds.), Property Rights: Cooperation, Conflict, and Law, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar

  • Angrist, J.D., Kugler, A.D., (2008), Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income, and Civil Conflict in Colombia, The Review of Economics and Statistics, vol. 90, pp. 191–215.Google Scholar

  • Boix, C., (2008), Economic Roots of Civil Wars and Revolutions in the Contemporary World, World Politics, vol. 60, pp. 390–437.Google Scholar

  • Brittain, J.J., (2010), Revolutionary Social Change in Colombia: The Origin and Direction of the FARC-EP, Pluto Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • Cardenas, M., (2001), Economic Growth in Colombia: A Reversal of ‘Fortune’? CID Working Paper No. 83.Google Scholar

  • Cederman, L.-E., Weidmann, N.B., Gleditsch, K.S., (2011), Horizontal Inequalities and Ethno-nationalist Civil War: A Global Comparison, American Political Science Review, vol. 105, pp. 478–495.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Chernick, M., (2007), The Farc-ep: From Liberal Guerrillas to Marxist Rebels to Postcold War Insurgents, in Heiberg M., OLeary B., Tirman J., (eds.), Terror, Insurgencies, and the State: Ending Protracted Conflicts, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA, pp. 51–82.Google Scholar

  • Coase, R.H., (1960), The Problem of Social Cost, Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 3, pp. 1–44.Google Scholar

  • Collier, P., Sambanis, N., (eds.) (2005), Understanding Civil War: Evidence and Analysis, Volume 2: Europe Central Asia, and Other Regions, The World Bank, Washington, DC.Google Scholar

  • Collier, P., Elliott, V., Hegre, H., Hoeffler, A., Reynal-Querol, M., Sambanis, N., (2003), Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy, World Bank, Washington, DC.Google Scholar

  • Collier, P., Hoeffler, A., Rohner, D., (2009), Beyond Greed and Grievance: Feasibility in Civil War, Oxford Economic Papers, vol. 61, pp. 1–27.Google Scholar

  • Colombia, (1931), Memorias del Ministro de Industrias, Report of Colombian government.Google Scholar

  • Cramer, C., (2003), Does Inequality Cause Conflict?, Journal of International Development, vol. 15, pp. 397–412.Google Scholar

  • Daly, S.Z., (2012), Organizational Legacies of Violence: Conditions Favoring Insurgency Onset in Colombia, 1964–1984, Journal of Peace Research, vol. 49, pp. 473–491.Google Scholar

  • Diskin, M., (1996), Distilled Conclusions: The Disappearance of the Agrarian Question in El Salva, Latin American Research Review, vol. 31, pp. 111–126.Google Scholar

  • Duckitt, J., (1994), The Social Psychology of Prejudice, Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT.Google Scholar

  • Fearon, J.D., (2004), Why Do Some Civil Wars Last So Much Longer than Others?, Journal of Peace Research, vol. 41, pp. 275–301.Google Scholar

  • Fearon, J.D., Laitin, D.D., (2003), Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War, American Political Science Review, vol. 97, pp. 75–90.Google Scholar

  • Gilhodès, P., (1970), Agrarian Struggles in Colombia, in Agrarian Problems and Peasant Movements in Latin America, Doubleday, pp. 407–451.Google Scholar

  • Grossman, H.I., (1991), A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections, American Economic Review, vol. 81, pp. 912–921.Google Scholar

  • Gurr, T.R., (1970), Why Men Rebel, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar

  • Haber, S., Razo, A., Maurer, N., (2003), The Politics of Property Rights: Political Instability, Credible Commitments, and Economic Growth in Mexico, 1876–1929, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar

  • Hirshleifer, J., (1991), The Paradox of Power, Economics and Politics, vol. 3, pp. 177–200.Google Scholar

  • Huntington, S.P., (1968), Politial Order in Changing Socities, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar

  • Jensen, P.S., Sørensen, T.V., (2012), Land Inequality and Conflict in Latin America in the Twentieth Century, Defence and Peace Economics, vol. 23, pp. 77–94.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kalmanovitz, S., (2003), Economía y nación: una breve historia de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia: Editorial Norma.Google Scholar

  • Kalyvas, S.N., (2006), The Logic of Violence in Civil War, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • Knight, J., (1992), Insititutions and Social Conflict, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • Leech, G., (2011), The FARC: The Longest Insurgency, Fernwood Publishing, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • LeGrand, C., (1986), Frontier Expansion and Peasant Protest in Colombia, 1850–1936, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico.Google Scholar

  • LeGrand, C., (1992), Agrarian Antecedents of the Violence, in Bergquist C.W., Naranda R.P., Sánchez G.G., (eds.), Violence in Colombia: The Contemporary Crisis in Historical Perspective, SR Books, Wilmington, DE, pp. 31–50.Google Scholar

  • LeGrand, C., (2003), The Colombian Crisis in Historical Perspective, Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, vol. 28, pp. 165–209.Google Scholar

  • Libecap, G.D., (1989), Contracting for Property Rights, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar

  • Machado, A., (1988), El café: de la aparcería al capitalismo, Tercer Mundo Editores, Bogotá, Colombia.Google Scholar

  • Martínez, M.A., (1939), Regimen de tieras en colombia: antecedents of law 200 of 1936, Publication of the Ministry of the National Economy, Bogotá, Colombia.Google Scholar

  • Marulanda, E., (1991), Colonización conflicto: las lecciones del Sumapaz, Tercer Mundo Editores, Bogotá, Colombia.Google Scholar

  • Midlarsky, M.I., (1988), Rulers and the Ruled: Patterned Inequality and the Onset of Mass Political Violence, American Political Science Review, vol. 82, pp. 491–509.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Molano, A., (1992), Violence and Land Colonization, in Bergquist C.W., Naranda R.P., Sánchez G.G., (eds.), Violence in Colombia: The Contemporary Crisis in Historical Perspective, SR Books, Wilmington, DE, pp. 195–216.Google Scholar

  • Moore, B.J., (1966), Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Modern World, Beacon Press, Boston, MA.Google Scholar

  • Muller, E.N., Seligson, M.A., (1987), Inequality and Insurgency, American Political Science Review, vol. 81, pp. 425–452.Google Scholar

  • Muller, E.N., Seligson, M.A., der Fu, H., Midlarsky, M.I., (1989), Land Inequality and Political Violence, American Political Science Review, vol. 83, pp. 577–596.Google Scholar

  • Neuman, W., (2012), Rebel Group in Colombia Announces Cease-fire, New York Times, November 19, Accessed at www.nytimes.com.

  • North, D.C., (1981), Structure and Change in Economic History, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • Paige, J.M., (1996), Land Reform and agrarian Revolution in El Salvador: Comment on Seligson and Diskin, Latin American Research Review, vol. 31, pp. 127–139.Google Scholar

  • Palacios, M., (1980), Coffee in Colombia, 1850–1970: An Economic, Social, and Political History, Cambridge University Press, Oxford, UK.Google Scholar

  • Palacios, M., (2006), Between Legitimacy and Violence: A History of Colombia, 1875–2002, Duke University Press, translation by Richard Stoller.Google Scholar

  • Prosterman, R.L., Riedinger, J.M., (1987), Land Reform and Democratic Development, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar

  • Rodríguez, M.A., Daza, N.A., (2012), Determinants of Civil Conflict in Colombia: How Robust Are They?, Defence and Peace Economics, vol. 23, pp. 109–131.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Roldán, M., (2002), La Violencia in Antioquia, Colombia, 1946–1953, Duke University Press, Durham, NC.Google Scholar

  • Ross, M.L., (2004a), What Do We Know about Natural Resources and Civil War?, Journal of Peace Research, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 337–356.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ross, M.L., (2006), A Closer Look at Oil, Diamonds and Civil War, Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 9, pp. 265–300.Google Scholar

  • Russett, B.M., (1964), Inequality and Instability: The Relation of Land Tenure to Politics, World Politics, vol. 16, pp. 442–454.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Safford, F., Palacios, M., (2002), Colombia: Fragmented Land, Divided Society, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.Google Scholar

  • Sánchez, G., (1992), The Violence: An interpretive synthesis, in Violence in Colombia: The Contemporary Crisis in Historical Perspective, SR Books, Wilmington, DE, pp. 75–124.Google Scholar

  • Sánchez, F., Solimano, A., Formisano, M., (2005), Conflict Violence and Crime in Colombia, in Collier P., Sambanis N., (eds.), Understanding Civil War: Evidence and Analysis, volume 2: Europe, Central Asia, and Other Regions, The World Bank, pp. 119–159.Google Scholar

  • Sánchez, F., López-Uribe, M., Fazio, A., (2010), Land Conflicts, Property Rights, and the Rise of the Export Economy in Colombia, 1850–1925, Journal of Economic History, vol. 70, pp. 378–399.Google Scholar

  • Seligson, M.A., (1995), Thirty Years of Transformation in the Agrarian Structure of El Salvador, 1961–1991, Latin American Research Review, vol. 30, pp. 43–74.Google Scholar

  • Sened, I., (1997), The Political Institution of Private Property, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar

  • Sherif, M., (1966), In Common Predicament: Social Psychology of Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.Google Scholar

  • Solt, F., (2009), Standardizing the World Income Inequality Database, Social Science Quarterly, vol. 90, pp. 231–242.Google Scholar

  • Stewart, F., (2008), Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: An Introduction and Some Hypotheses, in Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multiethnic Societies, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, NY, pp. 3–24.Google Scholar

  • Tai, H.-C., (1974), Land Reform and Politics: A Comparative Analysis, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.Google Scholar

  • Tajfel, H., Turner, J.C., (1979), An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict, in Austin W.G., Worchel S., (eds.), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations, Brooks/Cole Publishing, Monterey, CA, pp. 33–47.Google Scholar

  • Vargas, J.F., (2012), The Persistent Colombian Conflict: Subnational Analysis of the Duration of Violence, Defence and Peace Economics, vol. 23, pp. 203–223.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Walter, B.F., (1997), The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement, International Organization, vol. 51, pp. 335–364.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wang, T., Dixon, W.J., Muller, E.N., Seligson, M.A. (1993), Inequality and Political Violence Revisited, American Political Science Review, vol. 87, pp. 977–994.Google Scholar

  • Weinstein, J.M., (2007), Inside Rebellion: The Politics of Insurgent Violence, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • Wimmer, A., Cederman, L.-E., and Min, B., (2009), Ethnic Politics and Armed Conflict: A Configurational Analysis of a New Global Dataset, American Sociological Review, vol. 74, pp. 316–337.Google Scholar

  • Wood, E.J., (2003), Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador, Cambridge Univesity Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • Zamosc, L., (1986), The Agrarian Question and the Peasant Movement in Colombia: Struggles of the National Peasant Association, 1967–1981, Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

  • Zartman, I.W., (1985), Ripe for Resolution: Conflict and Intervention in Africa, Oxford University Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar

About the article

Corresponding author: Thomas Edward Flores, George Mason University, The School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, 3351 N. Fairfax Drive, MSN 4D3, Arlington, VA 22201, USA, E-mail:


Published Online: 2014-01-21

Published in Print: 2014-01-01


The continuity of conflict in Colombia should not disguise variation in its intensity across space and time, as micro-analysis of Colombia shows (Daly 2012; Rodríguez and Daza 2012; Vargas 2012).

The vigor of the debate can be seen in the frequency with which authors challenged each others’ findings in subsequent journals.

See Daly (2012) for an important recent exception.

Sánchez, López-Uribe, and Fazio (2010) come to different conclusions regarding the proportion of land granted to peasants, finding that peasants received 45% of land titled between 1853 and 1930. These calculations, however, assume that the average farm granted to peasants averaged 511 hectares, over ten times as large as what Palacios (1980) would classify as medium-sized.

Income inequality obviously does not capture perfectly the dynamics of land inequality, but given the context of continuing land inequality, deteriorating income inequality is suggestive.

This discussion is based on regression analysis using replication data from Daly (2012). Results are described in the appendix.

Napalm is a chemical agent used in incendiary bombing. It can cause severe burns, intense pain, and asphyxiation. The United Nations Convention on Certain Chemical Weapons (CCW), passed in 1980, bans its use against civilian populations.

Data are available at http://www.prio.no/Journals/Journal/?x=2&content=replicationData.

Results available upon request.


Citation Information: Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, ISSN (Online) 1554-8597, ISSN (Print) 1079-2457, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2013-0058.

Export Citation

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

[1]
Michael Weintraub, Juan F Vargas, and Thomas E. Flores
Research & Politics, 2015, Volume 2, Number 2, Page 205316801557334

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in