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Do Working Men Rebel? Insurgency and Unemployment in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines

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Author Info

  • Eli Berman

    (UC San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA)

  • Michael Callen

    (UC San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA)

  • Joseph H. Felter

    (Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA, USA)

  • Jacob N. Shapiro

    ()
    (Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA)

Abstract

Most aid spending by governments seeking to rebuild social and political order is based on an opportunity-cost theory of distracting potential recruits. The logic is that gainfully employed young men are less likely to participate in political violence, implying a positive correlation between unemployment and violence in locations with active insurgencies. The authors test that prediction in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines, using survey data on unemployment and two newly available measures of insurgency: (1) attacks against government and allied forces and (2) violence that kill civilians. Contrary to the opportunity-cost theory, the data emphatically reject a positive correlation between unemployment and attacks against government and allied forces (p

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Peace Science Society (International) in its journal Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Volume (Year): 55 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 496-528

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Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:55:y:2011:i:4:p:496-528

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://pss.la.psu.edu/

Related research

Keywords: Insurgency; opportunity costs; rebel recruitment; unemployment;

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Cited by:
  1. Crost, Benjamin & Felter, Joseph & Mansour, Hani & Rees, Daniel I., 2013. "Election Fraud and Post-Election Conflict: Evidence from the Philippines," IZA Discussion Papers 7469, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Eli Berman & Joseph Felter & Ethan Kapstein & Erin Troland, 2013. "Predation, Taxation, Investment and Violence: Evidence from the Philippines," NBER Working Papers 19266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Willa Friedman, 2013. "Local Economic Conditions and Participation in the Rwandan Genocide," HiCN Working Papers 160, Households in Conflict Network.
  4. Thiemo Fetzer, 2014. "Can Workfare Programs Moderate Violence? Evidence from India," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 53, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Saurabh Singhal & Rahul Nilakantan, 2012. "Naxalite Insurgency and the Economic Benefits of a Unique Robust Security Response," HiCN Working Papers 127, Households in Conflict Network.
  6. Richard Estes & M. Sirgy, 2014. "Radical Islamic Militancy and Acts of Terrorism: A Quality-of-Life Analysis," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 117(2), pages 615-652, June.
  7. Jordi Domènech Feliu, 2013. "Land tenure inequality, harvests, and rural conflict ; evidence from Southern Spain in the 1930s," Working Papers in Economic History wp13-06, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  8. Jeffrey Clemens, 2013. "An Analysis of Economic Warfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 523-27, May.
  9. Eli Berman & Joseph Felter & Ethan Kapstein & Erin Troland, 2012. "Predation, Economic Activity and Violence: Evidence from the Philippines," NBER Working Papers 18375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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