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Why We Fight: A Conversation with UChicago’s Christopher Blattman

The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics (BFI), the Harris School of Public Policy and the Chicago Economics Society (CES) hosted Christopher Blattman, Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies at the Harris School of Public Policy, for a moderated conversation about his latest book, Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace. Blattman was joined by topic experts Franck Bousquet and Abebe Selassie of the International Monetary Fund.

Listed as one of Financial Times’ Best New Books on Economics, Why We Fight draws on decades of economics, political science, psychology and real-world interventions to lay out the root causes and remedies for war, showing that violence is not the norm; that there are only five reasons why conflict wins over compromise; and how peacemakers turn the tides through tinkering, not transformation. From warring states to street gangs, ethnic groups and religious sects to political factions, Blattman suggests there are common dynamics to heed and lessons to learn. Along the way, through Blattman’s time studying Medellín, Chicago, Sudan, England, and more, he examines vainglorious monarchs, dictators, mobs, pilots, football hooligans, ancient peoples, and fanatics. His account suggests societies are surprisingly good at interrupting and ending violence when they want to.


Tuesday, May 10, 2022
5:00 pm
Registration Opens
5:15 pm - 5:45 pm
Cocktails and Networking
5:45 pm - 7:00 pm
Program, including Q&A


Christopher Blattman, Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Harris School of Public Policy; Deputy Director of BFI Development Economics Center

Franck Bousquet (Discussant), Deputy Director, Institute for Capacity Development, International Monetary Fund; Lead author of the Fund’s Strategy for Fragile and Conflict-Affected States

Abebe Selassie (Engaged Facilitator), Director of the African Department, International Monetary Fund