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Killing Social Leaders for Territorial Control: The Unintended Consequences of Peace


  • Mounu Prem


  • Andrés F. Rivera
  • Dario A. Romero
  • Juan F. Vargas



We study the unintended consequences of the recent peace process in Colombia, that ended over five decades of internal armed conflict with the FARC insurgency. Using a triple differences empirical strategy, we show that the permanent ceasefire that started in December 2014 in the context of the peace negotiations was followed by an increase in the killing of social leaders in previously FARC-dominated territories, perpetrated by other armed groups seeking control of these areas. Con- sistent with our interpretation that local social leaders are killed to thwart collective action and mobilization at the municipal level, we show that the targeting of social leaders is not explained by the behavior of the overall homicide rate and that it is exacerbated in municipalities with weaker state capacity and an inefficient local judi- ciary. Our results suggest that partial pacification processes can exacerbate violence by other existing armed groups, aimed at controlling pacified territories.

Suggested Citation

  • Mounu Prem & Andrés F. Rivera & Dario A. Romero & Juan F. Vargas, 2018. "Killing Social Leaders for Territorial Control: The Unintended Consequences of Peace," Documentos de Trabajo 016385, Universidad del Rosario.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:016385

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Blog mentions

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    1. The Art of Winning a Peace Agreement: The Case of the FARC
      by ? in Political Violence at a Glance on 2019-09-16 12:00:53


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    Cited by:

    1. Prem, Mounu & Saavedra, Santiago & Vargas, Juan F., 2020. "End-of-conflict deforestation: Evidence from Colombia’s peace agreement," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    2. Gabriela Rubio, 2020. "¿Fin de la guerra, fin de la violencia? Evidencia del Acuerdo de Paz y homicidios en Colombia," Documentos CEDE 018228, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.

    More about this item


    Social leaders; Peace process; Armed conflict; Territorial control;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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