Carrots, Sticks, and Ethnic Conflict : Rethinking Development Assistance

Milton J. Esman, Ronald J. Herring


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, andProfessor of Government at Cornell University.

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