With this paper, we seek to contribute to the literature with a careful examination of micro-level determinants of migration-related violence in Côte d’Ivoire in the period immediately prior to the civil war. Côte d’Ivoire is a valuable case for the study of nativism, inasmuch as it has historically witnessed heavy migration both from within the country and the sub-region, facilitated by the state in view of supporting economic development. While previous research has widely documented how national-level factors contributed to the outbreak of violence during the 1990s, we still know little about the source of variations in nativist violence at the sub-national level. To do so, we leverage a novel dataset on nativist violence at the local (sub-prefecture) level, supplemented with fine-grained population and settlement data. We carry the analysis over the period extending from the passage of the controversial 1998 land law, which ushered in a wave of nativist violence and expulsions, to the immediate eve of the civil war in September 2002. Such rich data enables us to examine how factors identified in the literature, including land scarcities, horizontal inequalities, change in the local demography, and state capacity, have influenced the risk of violence.

Fabien Cottier is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Geneva affiliated to the R4D project on “Ethnic Power Relations and Conflict in Fragile States” (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development). He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Geneva (2018) and a Master in Comparative and International Studies from the ETH Zürich (2012). He is currently researching the determinants of nativist violence in Ivory Coast, together with researchers at the University Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan. In his Ph.D. dissertation, Fabien has investigated the linkages between environmental change, migration and violence. In addition, he has also carried out research on conflict- and disaster-induced displacement. Fabien spent six months in the Horn of Africa working with the UNHCR Protection Unit in Djibouti in 2010.