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Tectonic Boundaries and Strongholds: The Religious Geography of Violence in Northern Ireland

  • Hannes Mueller
  • Dominic Rohner
  • David Schoenholzer

The conflict in Northern Ireland was an example of "complex warfare" with both insurgency and sectarian violence. We present a unified model that helps to identify these two forms of conflict from the spatial distribution of violence. The model predicts that tectonic boundaries between residential areas of opposed groups drive sectarian violence. Violence between the minority and state forces takes place in minority strongholds. We test the model with fine-grained data on religious composition and geo-referenced data on killings with detailed information on attackers and targets. We also show that sectarian violence can predict the placement of barriers (i.e. so-called "peace lines"). Finally, we analyze the effect of a troop surge in 1972 and the proximity to the Republic of Ireland on the two elements of the conflict.

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Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 13.04.

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Length: 34 pp. + tables (total 40 pp.)
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:13.04
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne

Phone: ++41 21 692.33.20
Web page: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/publications/cahiers/series
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  1. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0762, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
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  9. Rohner, Dominic, 2011. "Reputation, group structure and social tensions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 188-199, November.
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  12. Oeindrila Dube & Juan F. Vargas, 2013. "Commodity Price Shocks and Civil Conflict: Evidence from Colombia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1384-1421.
  13. Markus Bruckner & Antonio Ciccone, 2010. "International Commodities Prices, Growth and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 1008, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
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