Professors Hess and Blomberg To Munich Conference on Conflict

Two CMC economists will join faculty and research colleagues from around the world in Munich on Dec. 9-10 for a conference titled Guns and Butter, focusing on the economic causes and consequences of conflict.

Conference organizer Gregory Hess, the Russell S. Bock Chair of Public Economics and associate dean of the faculty, says the event will bring economists and political scientists together to explore the political economy of conflict from multiple perspectives. Hess, who has studied the economics of conflict for 15 years, says that economists are increasingly interested in explaining the causes of conflict.

“Since 9/11, more researchers in economics have come to see that the cause itself of conflict is worth explaining, rather than simply focusing on the consequence of conflict,” Hess says. The increasing emphasis on the causes and consequences of conflict means that researchers are learning to see conflict from a broader perspective. “If we care about the extensive poverty in many regions of the world,” he says, “we have to see that conflict is both a cause and consequence of under-development.”

Brock Blomberg, associate professor of economics, will also present a paper, A Gravity Model of Globalization, Democracy and Transnational Terrorism (co-authored by Professor Peter Rosendorff of USC).

Several organizations are sponsoring the conference, including the Center for Economic Studies, the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, and the Munich Society for the Promotion of Economic Research.

Conference topics include the war in Iraq, links between poverty and conflict, and urban and rural reactions to conflict. Keynote presentations will be made by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (New York University and the Hoover Institution), Steven J. Davis (The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business), and Edward L. Glaeser (Harvard University). The proceedings of the conference will be edited by Professor Hess and published by MIT Press.