This paper explores the contribution that the economic way of thinking can make to existing literature on reconstruction and reconciliation that has been primarily limited to the disciplines of history, political science, and public policy. Specifically, this paper examines the economic concepts of incentives, constraints, opportunity cost, institutional path dependency, and gains from trade in the context of reconstruction and reconciliation. In order to make this connection, “lessons learned” from the economics profession’s experience are extended with transition economies and with the provision of monetary aid to developing countries. Additionally, economic theory of trade is examined as one mechanism for achieving sustainable change. This paper asserts that incorporating the economic way of thinking into the analysis of the reconstruction and reconciliation process will contribute substantially to the ongoing debate regarding the ability of governments to effectively export sustainable liberal democracy via foreign intervention.
Find this article at the Journal of Diplomacy.