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Insurgency and Small Wars: Estimation of Unobserved Coalition Structures

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  • Francesco Trebbi
  • Eric Weese

Abstract

Insurgency and guerrilla warfare impose enormous socio‐economic costs and often persist for decades. The opacity of such forms of conflict is an obstacle to effective international humanitarian intervention and development programs. To shed light on the internal organization of otherwise unknown insurgent groups, this paper proposes two methodologies for the detection of unobserved coalitions of militants in conflict areas. These approaches are based on daily geocoded incident‐level data on insurgent attacks. We provide applications to the Afghan conflict during the 2004–2009 period and to Pakistan during the 2008–2011 period, identifying systematically different coalition structures. Applications to global terrorism data and identification of new groups or shifting coalitions are discussed.

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  • Francesco Trebbi & Eric Weese, 2019. "Insurgency and Small Wars: Estimation of Unobserved Coalition Structures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(2), pages 463-496, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:emetrp:v:87:y:2019:i:2:p:463-496
    DOI: 10.3982/ECTA14436
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    Cited by:

    1. Vincent A. Floreani & Gladys López-Acevedo & Martín Rama, 2021. "Conflict and Poverty in Afghanistan’s Transition," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 57(10), pages 1776-1790, October.
    2. Trebbi, Francesco & Weese, Eric & Wright, Austin L. & Shaver, Andrew, 2020. "Insurgent Learning," Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 417-448, August.
    3. Aleberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2017. "Is Europe an Optimal Political Area?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 169-234.
    4. Stoop, Nik & Verpoorten, Marijke & van der Windt, Peter, 2019. "Artisanal or industrial conflict minerals? Evidence from Eastern Congo," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 660-674.
    5. Adlai Newson & Francesco Trebbi, 2018. "Authoritarian elites," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(4), pages 1088-1117, November.
    6. Yiran Chen & Hanming Fang, 2017. "Inferring the Ideological Affliations of Political Committees via Financial Contributions Networks," PIER Working Paper Archive 17-022, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 10 Dec 2017.
    7. Morales, Juan S., 2021. "Legislating during war: Conflict and politics in Colombia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    8. Martin Gassebner & Paul Schaudt & Melvin H. L. Wong, 2020. "Armed Groups in Conflict: Competition and Political Violence in Pakistan," CESifo Working Paper Series 8372, CESifo.
    9. Gehring, Kai & Langlotz, Sarah & Kienberger, Stefan, 2018. "Stimulant or depressant? Resource-related income shocks and conflict," Working Papers 0652, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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