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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:

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  1. Nicolas Berman & Mathieu Couttenier, 2012. "External shocks, internal shots - the geography of civil conflicts," IHEID Working Papers 13-2012, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  2. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2007. "International commodity prices, growth and the outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economics Working Papers 1053, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2009.
  3. Tim Besley & Hannes Mueller, 2009. "Estimating the peace dividend: the impact of violence on house prices in Northern Ireland," IFS Working Papers W09/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2006. "Beyond Greed and Grievance: Feasibility and Civil War," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2006-10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," NBER Working Papers 17620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  7. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  8. Buhaug, Halvard & Cederman, Lars-Erik & Rød, Jan Ketil, 2008. "Disaggregating Ethno-Nationalist Civil Wars: A Dyadic Test of Exclusion Theory," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(03), pages 531-551, July.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Alexander Wolitzky, 2012. "Cycles of Distrust: An Economic Model," NBER Working Papers 18257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dominic Rohner, 2008. "Reputation, Group Structure and Social Tensions," HiCN Working Papers 40, Households in Conflict Network.
  11. repec:oup:restud:v:80:y:2013:i:4:p:1384-1421 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. 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.
  13. Eli Berman & Jacob N. Shapiro & Joseph H. Felter, 2011. "Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(4), pages 766 - 819.
  14. Ravi Bhavnani & Dan Miodownik & Hyun Jin Choi, 2011. "Three Two Tango: Territorial Control and Selective Violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(1), pages 133-158, February.
  15. repec:oup:qjecon:v:126:y:2011:i:3:p:1411-1445 is not listed on IDEAS
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