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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," NBER Working Papers 17620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Berman, Nicolas & Couttenier, Mathieu, 2014. "External shocks, internal shots: the geography of civil conflicts," CEPR Discussion Papers 9895, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. 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.
  4. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  5. Timothy Besley & Hannes Mueller, 2012. "Estimating the Peace Dividend: The Impact of Violence on House Prices in Northern Ireland," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 810-33, April.
  6. Markus Brückner & Antonio Ciccone, 2010. "International Commodity Prices, Growth and the Outbreak of Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(544), pages 519-534, 05.
  7. Eli Berman & Jacob N. Shapiro & Joseph H. Felter, 2008. "Can Hearts and Minds Be Bought? The Economics of Counterinsurgency in Iraq," NBER Working Papers 14606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. repec:bbv:wpaper:1008 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Alexander Wolitzky, 2012. "Cycles of Distrust: An Economic Model," NBER Working Papers 18257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
  13. Rohner, Dominic, 2011. "Reputation, group structure and social tensions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 188-199, November.
  14. 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.
  15. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "The Logic of Political Violence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1411-1445.
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