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The Impact of Asymmetric Information Among Competing Insurgent Groups: Estimating an 'Emboldenment' Effect

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  • Radha Iyengar
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    Abstract

    This paper uses asymmetric access to information to test if an insurgency is factionalized. If it is factionalized, regional variation in information should influence attack levels as groups use violence to compete over visibility, resources and support. Using plausibly exogenous variation in satellite access, we show that attacks increased after the release of information on satellite television about US commitment to remain in Iraq. Because insurgents shift attacks toward more difficult (military) targets, the relative increase in attacks is offset by fewer total fatalities. Our findings illustrate that insurgent groups may be decentralized strategic actors subject to competitive forces.

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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1018.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1018.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1018

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    Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

    Related research

    Keywords: Iraq war; asymmetric information; media and violence;

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    1. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 223-238, Summer.
    2. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2004. "On Terrorism and Electoral Outcomes: Theory and Evidence from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," Working Papers 4, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. Berrebi Claude, 2007. "Evidence about the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism among Palestinians," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-38, December.
    4. Michael Greenstone, 2007. "Is the "Surge" Working? Some New Facts," NBER Working Papers 13458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Eli Berman & Jacob N. Shapiro & Joseph H. Felter, 2008. "Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq," NBER Working Papers 14606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Eli Berman & David Laitin, 2005. "Hard Targets: Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks," NBER Working Papers 11740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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