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Somali State Failure: Players, Incentives and Institutions

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Title: Somali State Failure: Players, Incentives and Institutions
Author: Ismail, Abdirashid A.
Contributor: Hanken School of Economics, Department of Economics, Economics
Thesis level: Doctoral thesis
Belongs to series: Economics and Society - 212
ISSN: 0424-7256
ISBN: 978-952-232-081-0
Abstract: In Somalia the central government collapsed in 1991 and since then state failure became a widespread phenomenon and one of the greatest political and humanitarian problems facing the world in this century. Thus, the main objective of this research is to answer the following question: What went wrong?
Most of the existing literature on the political economy of conflict starts from the assumption that state in Africa is predatory by nature. Unlike these studies, the present research, although it uses predation theory, starts from the social contract approach of state definition. Therefore, rather than contemplating actions and policies of the rulers alone, this approach allows us to deliberately bring the role of the society – as citizens – and other players into the analyses.
In Chapter 1, after introducing the study, a simple principal-agent model will be developed to check the logical consistence of the argument and to make the identification of causal mechanism easier. I also identify three main actors in the process of state failure in Somalia: the Somali state, Somali society and the superpowers. In Chapter 2, so as to understand the incentives, preferences and constraints of each player in the state failure game, I in some depth analyse the evolution and structure of three central informal institutions: identity based patronage system of leadership, political tribalism, and the Cold War. These three institutions are considered as the rules of the game in the Somali state failure.
Chapter 3 summarises the successive civilian governments’ achievements and failures (1960-69) concerning the main national goals, national unification and socio-economic development. Chapter 4 shows that the military regime, although it assumed power through extralegal means, served to some extent the developmental interest of the citizens in the first five years of its rule. Chapter 5 shows the process, and the factors involved, of the military regime’s self-transformation from being an agent for the developmental interests of the society to a predatory state that not only undermines the interests of the society but that also destroys the state itself. Chapter 6 addresses the process of disintegration of the post-colonial state of Somalia. The chapter shows how the regime’s merciless reactions to political ventures by power-seeking opposition leaders shattered the entire country and wrecked the state institutions. Chapter 7 concludes the study by summarising the main findings: due to the incentive structures generated by the informal institutions, the formal state institutions fell apart.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10227/607
URN:ISBN:978-952-232-081-0
Date: 2010-06-02
Copyright information: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
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