Dr. Natalia Mirovitskaya, senior research scholar and lecturing fellow at the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), and Dr. William Ascher, founder of DCID and professor of government and economics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif., have released the third book in their series exploring the connection between economic development and conflict.

The Economic Roots of Conflict and Cooperation in Africa examines cases of regime change, post-independence economic development, and intergroup violence in 11 countries to determine the role that development strategies play in either exacerbating or mitigating violent conflict.

“The causal relationship between violence and development progress is remarkably complex,” Mirovitskaya and Ascher write. “In this volume, we attempt to disentangle at least some threads of this connection in African countries, focusing on the many links between the choices that governments make – broad development strategies, policies to pursue these strategies, and institutional changes to promote and implement them – and the likelihood of violence or nonviolent interactions.”

The new book is part of a major multi-country research project on Economic Development Strategies to Avert Collective Violence, launched by Mirovitskaya and Ascher in 2009. The research is designed to help policymakers, development professionals and activists design conflict-sensitive strategies for development and avoid creating or magnifying fault lines between various potentially contending groups.

The first book in the series, Economic Development Strategies and the Evolution of Violence in Latin America, explores the links between economic policies and the nature and dynamics of intergroup violence in Latin America. Based on the patterns of 10 countries, the first volume traces the transformation from ideological conflict to the explosion of social violence, urban crime and confrontations over natural resources and drugs across the region from Mexico to Argentina. The book was published in 2012.

The second book, Development Strategies, Identities, and Conflict in Asia, provides an overview of the evolution of development doctrines, patterns of socio-economic development and levels of violence in all Asian subregions. Through a set of case studies, the book explores the often surprising impacts of development initiatives on inter-group conflict from West Asia to Southeast Asia. The book was published in June 2013.

These books are part of the Palgrave Macmillan series entitled “Politics, Economics, and Inclusive Development.”

Mirovitskaya and Ascher are currently working on their fourth book, which synthesizes their conclusions on development and conflict based on these three regional volumes.

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