Felix Haass, Martin Ottmann | 2021

Rebels, Revenue, and Redistribution. The Political Geography of Post-Conflict Power-Sharing in Africa

in: British Journal of Political Science, 51:3, 981-1001.

Do rebel elites who gain access to political power through power-sharing reward their own ethnic constituencies after war? Felix Haass and Martin Ottmann argue that power-sharing governments serve as instruments for rebel elites to access state resources. This access allows elites to allocate state resources disproportionately to their regional power bases, particularly the settlement areas of rebel groups‘ ethnic constituencies.

To test this proposition, the authors link information on rebel groups in power-sharing governments in post-conflict countries in Africa to information about ethnic support for rebel organizations. They combine this information with sub-national data on ethnic groups‘ settlement areas and data on night light emissions to proxy for sub-national variation in resource investments. Implementing a difference-in-differences empirical strategy, the authors show that regions with ethnic groups represented through rebels in the power-sharing government exhibit higher levels of night light emissions than regions without such representation. These findings help to reconceptualize post-conflict power-sharing arrangements as rent-generating and redistributive institutions.

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