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Carrots, Sticks, and Ethnic Conflict

Carrots, Sticks, and Ethnic Conflict: Rethinking Development Assistance

Milton J. Esman
Ronald J. Herring
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Carrots, Sticks, and Ethnic Conflict
    Book Description:

    Development assistance employs carrots and sticks to influence regimes and obtain particular outcomes: altered economic policies, democratization, relief of suffering from catastrophes. Wealthy nations and international agencies such as the World Bank justify development assistance on grounds of improving the global human condition. Over the last forty years, however, ethnic conflict has increased dramatically. Where does ethnic conflict fit within this set of objectives? How do the resources, policy advice, and conditions attached to aid affect ethnic conflict in countries in which donors intervene? How can assistance be deployed in ways that might moderate rather than aggravate ethnic tensions?

    These issues are addressed comparatively by area specialists and participant-observers from development assistance organizations. This book is the first systematic effort to evaluate this dimension of international affairs--and to propose remedies. Case studies include Russia, Ecuador, Sri Lanka, and Kenya, with references to many other national experiences.

    Cross-cutting chapters consider evolution of USAID and the World Bank's policies on displacement of people by development projects, as well as how carrots and sticks may affect ethnic dynamics, but through different mechanisms and to varying degrees depending on political dynamics and regime behaviors. They show that projects may also exacerbate ethnic conflict by reinforcing territoriality and exposing seemingly unfair allocative principles that exclude or harm some while benefiting others.

    For students of international political economy, development studies, comparative politics, and ethnic conflict, this book illuminates a problem area that has long been overlooked in international affairs literature. It is essential reading for staff members and policymakers in development assistance agencies and international financial institutions.

    Milton J. Esman is the John S. Knight Professor of International Studies, Emeritus, and Professor of Government, Emeritus, at Cornell University.

    Ronald J. Herring is Director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell, the John S. Knight Professor of International Relations, and Professor of Government at Cornell University.

    eISBN: 978-0-472-02685-2
    Subjects: Business, Economics, Anthropology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface (pp. vii-viii)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Projects and Policies, Politics and Ethnicities (pp. 1-25)
    Ronald J. Herring and Milton J. Esman

    Ethnic conflict¹ has often jarred the international community with its ferocity and durability. The causes are perplexing—clearly multiple and multidimensional, and situationally specific, difficult of generalization. But certainly much ethnic conflict is rooted in or fed by competition for resources. Though no purely materialist explanation can be satisfying,² development policy intuitively ranks among the first candidates for investigation. Rapid economic change in either positive or negative direction involves redistribution of opportunity, status, and deprivation in ways that are often inconsistent with deeply held notions of what is fair and what is unacceptable. Reciprocally, ethnic politics intrudes on the apparent...

  5. CHAPTER 2 The World Bank and Displacement: The Challenge of Heterogeneity (pp. 26-48)
    Daniel R. Gibson

    International development agencies have become sensitive to potentially adverse social consequences of their projects. But mere recognition of potential problems ensures neither avoidance nor mitigation. Project-related population displacement is one such source of problems, including ethnic conflict in some instances.

    Since 1980, World Bank policy has sought to restore people displaced by bank-supported projects to their previous standard of living. This chapter explains why this policy often fails to achieve its purposes in project areas inhabited by an ethnically mixed population. Especially with regard to indigenous peoples, the policy explicitly recognizes the inadequacy of ethnically neutral economic criteria. But the...

  6. CHAPTER 3 USAID and Ethnic Conflict: An Epiphany? (pp. 49-89)
    Heather S. McHugh

    This chapter examines the approach of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to ethnic conflict—whether it addresses ethnic conflict in its policies, programs, or projects; why it is interested in ethnic conflict; and how it approaches ethnic conflict and ethnicity.¹ As an independent agency within the U.S. foreign policy establishment, USAID is both actively involved in and greatly affected by the current heated debate on the formulation of post–Cold War foreign policy in the United States. Therefore, the first section of this chapter attempts to address some of the foreign policy themes that are emerging from...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Foreign Aid and Ethnic Interests in Kenya (pp. 90-112)
    John M. Cohen

    Academics specializing in the design and implementation of foreign aid interventions have given little attention to ethnicity.¹ As a result, it should not be surprising that aid agency handbooks fail to be explicit about ethnic issues, for academic products have an important impact on their content. This neglect, however, does not mean that those involved in aid-funded interventions fail to pay close attention to ethnic relationships. In this regard, the objective of this chapter is to present a set of Kenyan case studies that illustrate the extent to which politicians, public sector officials, aid agency professionals, and expatriate technical assistance...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Ethnic Cooperation in Sri Lanka: Through the Keyhole of a USAID Project (pp. 113-139)
    Norman T. Uphoff

    It is unlikely that there is any necessary or fixed relationship between foreign assistance and ethnic conflict (or cooperation). However, this does not mean that there is no connection. External aid used in some ways can be seen to exacerbate or stir up ethnic tensions, indirectly if not directly, while aid used differently can have some moderating effects. The relationship is best understood as being loosely causal, not invariant, and unlikely to be linear. This means that the ethnic effects of foreign assistance are quite contingent and contextual, generally consistent with the dynamics studied under the rubric of chaos theory...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Making Ethnic Conflict: The Civil War in Sri Lanka (pp. 140-174)
    Ronald J. Herring

    Sri Lanka’s internal strife has been among the most enduring, lethal, and puzzling of current domestic conflicts. This outcome is puzzling because of the absence of sustained ethnic conflict prior to the late 1970s and the remarkable developmental record of Sri Lanka as a model for provision of “basic human needs” within the context of a well-institutionalized democratic political system that allowed significant opportunities for participation and mediation. Mick Moore (1990, 347) reflects a widely shared view when he claims that among poor countries, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka “could once have been seen as staging posts on the road...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Foreign Assistance as Genocide: The Crisis in Russia, the IMF, and Interethnic Relations (pp. 175-209)
    Stephen D. Shenfield

    For a long time, Russia has been at the center of attention of a large section of the international development community. Huge sums have been poured into the maw of Russian reform. Politicians and officials in Africa, Asia, and Latin America complain that their countries are being starved of assistance because the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are getting all the development attention. Yet reform in Russia has, by and large, proven a dismal failure. Despite the external resources committed to Russia during the 1990s, the Russian economy remains in deep crisis and the people of Russia continue to...

  11. CHAPTER 8 “Indian Market”: The Ethnic Face of Adjustment in Ecuador (pp. 210-234)
    Alison Brysk

    On February 5, 1999, Ecuador’s president Jamil Mahuad decreed the latest in almost two decades of austerity programs, seeking from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank $700 million in loans needed to pay the interest on Ecuador’s $15 billion foreign debt. This year’s program included cutoffs of state subsidies on cooking gas, electricity, and drinking water; layoffs of state employees, including teachers; a new regressive tax on financial transactions; and food price increases of 15 percent per month. By March, the administration had frozen Ecuadorans’ bank accounts and imposed a 60-day state of emergency suspending...

  12. CHAPTER 9 Policy Dimensions: What Can Development Assistance Do? (pp. 235-256)
    Milton J. Esman

    In most countries that receive development assistance—in Asia, Africa, and Latin America; in Eastern Europe and the successor republics of the former Soviet Union—ethnic pluralism has become an important (often the most salient) dimension of politics and the principal source of violent conflict. The previous chapters address whether this presents a special challenge to the providers of development assistance and, if so, how they should deal with it. Where ethnic divisions have been politicized, can donors continue to assume an integrated national economy where economic growth will raise all ships, a society of individualistic economic maximizers willing and...

  13. Contributors (pp. 257-260)
  14. Index (pp. 261-264)