SUMMARY:Distributive politics and institution-building in conflict and post-conflict settings are topics of significant relevance in the Middle East. Previous research suggests that clientelistic access to employment and public services shape subnational variation in political behavior during the outset of conflict. In turn, state attempts to construct institutions and new patterns of service provision may be shaped and constrained by legacies of conflict, the politics of previous regimes, and the emergence of non-state actors. In this panel, the authors address a diverse set of questions in three main conflict and post-conflict settings: Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria. These papers ask: how do states engage in institution-building and service delivery in conflict and post-conflict settings? Under what conditions do these institution-building processes persist? Finally, how does public employment, a key distributive tool of clientelist authoritarian regimes, shape political behavior?
The papers draw on an array of methods and data sources, including an original experiment, extensive observational data from government, NGO, and non-governmental sources, satellite data on light emission, and in-depth qualitative research through interviews and primary source analysis. Two papers on Iraq and Syria emphasize the long-lasting effects of pre-conflict distributional strategies even following regime change in one case. The second set of papers explores the legacies of institutions and non-state actors brought to the fore during conflict itself on service provision. With populations across the Levant continuing to suffer the fallout of conflict--through decimated infrastructure, weak state capacity, and ongoing violence--these papers present novel and theoretically important contributions to topics with significant policy and scholarly implications.
DISCIPLINES:Pol Science; Pol Science