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Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq

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  • Eli Berman
  • Jacob N. Shapiro
  • Joseph H. Felter

Abstract

We develop and test an economic theory of insurgency motivated by the informal literature and by recent military doctrine. We model a three-way contest between violent rebels, a government seeking to minimize violence by mixing service provision and coercion, and civilians deciding whether to share information about insurgents. We test the model using panel data from Iraq on violence against Coalition and Iraqi forces, reconstruction spending, and community characteristics (sectarian status, socioeconomic grievances, and natural resource endowments). Our results support the theory’s predictions: improved service provision reduces insurgent violence, particularly for smaller projects and since the “surge” began in 2007.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/661983
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/661983
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 119 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 766 - 819

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/661983

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References

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  1. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  2. Powell, Robert, 2006. "War as a Commitment Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 169-203, January.
  3. Eli Berman, 2003. "Hamas, Taliban and the Jewish Underground: An Economist's View of Radical Religious Militias," NBER Working Papers 10004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Laurence Iannaccone & Eli Berman, 2006. "Religious extremism: The good, the bad, and the deadly," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 109-129, July.
  5. Eli Berman & David D. Laitin, 2008. "Religion, Terrorism and Public Goods: Testing the Club Model," NBER Working Papers 13725, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ross, Michael L., 2004. "How Do Natural Resources Influence Civil War? Evidence from Thirteen Cases," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(01), pages 35-67, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sami Miaari & Asaf Zussman & Noam Zussman, 2012. "Employment Restrictions and Political Violence in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 59, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Andrew Beath & Fotini Christia & Ruben Enikolopov, 2011. "Winning Hearts and Minds through Development Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan," Working Papers w0166, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  3. Hannes Mueller & Dominic Rohner & David Schoenholzer, 2013. "Tectonic Boundaries and Strongholds: The Religious Geography of Violence in Northern Ireland," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 13.04, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  4. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2009. "Civil War: A Review of Fifty Years of Research," Working Papers id:2231, eSocialSciences.
  5. David Scoones & Travers Barclay Child, 2012. "Community Preferences, Insurgency, and the Success of Reconstruction Spending," Department Discussion Papers 1202, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
  6. Ismail, Aisha & Amjad, Shehla, 2014. "Determinants of terrorism in Pakistan: An empirical investigation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 320-331.
  7. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
  8. Eli Berman & Michael Callen & Joseph H. Felter & Jacob N. Shapiro, 2009. "Do Working Men Rebel? Insurgency and Unemployment in Iraq and the Philippines," NBER Working Papers 15547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Radha Iyengar, 2010. "The Impact of Asymmetric Information Among Competing Insurgent Groups: Estimating an 'Emboldenment' Effect," CEP Discussion Papers dp1018, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Beath, Andrew & Christia, Fotini & Enikolopov, Ruben, 2013. "The National Solidarity Programme: Assessing the effects of community-driven development in Afghanistan," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  11. Cortés Darwin & Montolio Daniel, 2014. "Provision of Public Goods and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(1), pages 143-167, January.
  12. 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.

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