Economics of War and Peace (Fall 2023)

Course description

Standard economics models assume economic transactions take place in a peaceful environment or the outcome of such transactions are peaceful. However, over the past half a century or so, peaceful environment has not existed in roughly a third of the countries in the world: between 1945-1999, 73 states had some form of violent conflict (civil wars), which lasted for a median of about 6 years and resulted in a cumulative loss of approximately 16.2 million lives. What do economists know about the causes, conduct, and consequences of violent conflicts? How can economists’ way of thinking help to make the world more peaceful?

To answer these questions, the course begins with an overview of the relationship between conflict and economics and various datasets and methodologies for empirical study of conflict and peace. It then provides a survey of various economics theories and illustrations related to (a) causes of (violent) conflict and peace, (b) preparation for and conduct of conflict, (c) consequences/aspects of conflict, and (d) institutions and conflict prevention. The course will help develop analytical lenses grounded in economics to view and understand the world around us.

Course Calendar
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