We thank the editor and three anonymous referees for insightful comments that have improved the article. Conflict data were gathered from Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), a not-for-profit human rights organization that publishes reports of incidences of human rights violation in Nepal. Data and code for replication of all results are available at http://kishoregawande.net/.
More Inequality, More Killings: The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal
Article first published online: 7 JUL 2011
©2011, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 55, Issue 4, pages 886–906, October 2011
How to Cite
Nepal, M., Bohara, A. K. and Gawande, K. (2011), More Inequality, More Killings: The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal. American Journal of Political Science, 55: 886–906. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00529.x
- Issue published online: 12 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 7 JUL 2011
The hypothesis of inequality as the source of violent conflict is investigated empirically in the context of killings by Nepalese Maoists in their People's War against their government during 1996–2003. The dependent variable is the total number of people killed during that period by Maoist rebels in each of 3,857 villages. Inequality is measured by the Gini, the Esteban-Ray polarization index, and four other between-groups indexes. Using models with district fixed effects, and instrumenting for endogeneity of the inequality measures, we find strong evidence that greater inequality escalated killings by Maoists. Poverty did not necessarily increase violence. Education moderated the effect of inequality on killing, while predominance of farmers and of Nepali speakers exacerbated it. We find evidence that more killings occurred in populous villages, lending support to the idea that violence was directed at expanding the Maoist franchise by demonstrating that opposition to the monarchy and elites in power was possible to achieve.