The Industrial Organization of Rebellion: The Logic of Forced Labor and Child Soldiering
We investigate one of the world’s most pernicious forms of exploitation: child soldiering. Most theories can be captured by a principal-agent model that incorporates punishments, indoctrination, and age-varying productivity. For rebel leaders, we show it is almost always optimal to coerce rather than reward children, and that leaders will tend to forcibly recruit children when punishment and supervision are cheap, when children’s outside options are poor, and when rebel leaders are resource-constrained. To see which mechanisms dominate in practice, we interview and survey former members of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, who provide a cruel natural experiment that reveals how children and adults respond to coercive incentives. The evidence suggests that children are more easily indoctrinated and disoriented than adults, but are less effective guerrillas; hence the optimal targets of coercion are young adolescents. We confirm predications of the model on a new “cross-rebel” dataset and suggest policy solutions.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Christopher Blattman & Jeannie Annan, 2010.
"The Consequences of Child Soldiering,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 882-898, November.
- Eric Edmonds, 2007.
- Basu, Kaushik, 1998.
"Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2027, The World Bank.
- Kaushik Basu, 1999. "Child Labor: Cause, Consequence, and Cure, with Remarks on International Labor Standards," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1083-1119, September.
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
- Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2004.
"On the Stability of Group Formation: Managing the Conflict Within,"
Conflict Management and Peace Science,
Peace Science Society (International), vol. 21(1), pages 43-68, February.
- Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2003. "On the Stability of Group Formation: Managing the Conflict Within," Public Economics 0312005, EconWPA, revised 04 Mar 2004.
- Eric V. Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2005. "Child Labor in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 199-220, Winter.
- Daron Acemoglu & Alexander Wolitzky, 2011.
"The Economics of Labor Coercion,"
Econometric Society, vol. 79(2), pages 555-600, 03.
- Carol Rogers & Kenneth A. Swinnerton, 2002.
"A Theory of Exploitative Child Labor,"
gueconwpa~02-02-03, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
- Jonathan Conning & Michael Kevane, 2005. "Freedom, Servitude and Voluntary Contract," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 408, Hunter College Department of Economics.
- Fenoaltea, Stefano, 1984. "Slavery and Supervision in Comparative Perspective: A Model," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(03), pages 635-668, September.
- Findlay, Ronald, 1975. "Slavery, Incentives, and Manumission: A Theoretical Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(5), pages 923-33, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:72. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Alia Aghajanian)or () or () or ()
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.