Groups in conflict: Private and public prizes

Authors: Laura Mayoral and Debraj Ray

Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 154, 102759, January, 2022

This paper studies costly conflict over private and public goods. Oil is an example of the former, political and civil rights an example of the latter. Our theory predicts that groups in conflict are likely to be small when the prize is private, and large when the prize is public. We examine these implications empirically using a global dataset of conflict at the ethnic group level. Our theoretical predictions find significant confirmation in this setting, and the analysis sheds new light on group size and collective action in the context of violent conflict.