War Economies and Postwar Crime

Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach
2015 - 2017
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Ervyn Noze, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Dr. Judith Vorrath, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin, Germany

Dr. Enzo Nussio, Uppsala University, Sweden



Research Questions

  • If and where specific resources have been linked to conflict onset and transformation, in what way do they continue to feed violence and crime after armed conflicts have ended?
  • Are there substantial and qualitative differences between war economies in terms of their linkages to armed conflict and/or to post-war violence?
  • To what extent have efforts to promote resource governance and curb war economies in war-torn societies been aimed at preventing or stemming violence and crime associated with resource extraction? What lessons can be drawn from our cases for policymakers and scholars?

Contribution to International Research
The research project contributes to two strands of research:

  • postwar violence, peace-building and the role of war economies;
  • role of resources for armed conflict and post-war crime

Research Design and Methods
Comparative design analyzing select cases in Latin America, Africa, and Asia (Colombia, Guatemala, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, and Cambodia among others) based on our main criterion, which is whether they have experienced armed conflict in the past twenty years. We intend to focus on the micro-level in addition to the national level, in order to better understand the specific mechanisms of their respective war economies and their relationship to conflict-related and post-war crime.

Preliminary Results
A first discussion of different cases provides evidence that some of the same conditions that gave rise to armed conflict and its transformation (such as weak institutional capacity, resource dependence, disenfranchised youth) are prevalent in societies after—and even when—wars end. However, post-war crime differs in many societies, suggesting that some variables—alone or in combination—may be more helpful than others to account for the differences.