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Predation, Taxation, Investment, and Violence: Evidence from the Philippines

  • Eli Berman
  • Joseph Felter
  • Ethan Kapstein
  • Erin Troland

The literature relating economic activity to political violence posits greedy rebels (Collier, 2000) but not greedy governments. Could capturing tax revenue motivate governments to step up their counter insurgency operations, just as extortion motivates rebel violence? Panel data on political violence in the Philippines distinguish government from rebel attacks, which we link to private investment across 70 provinces. To formally explore these data we expand an established theory of asymmetric substate conflict –the “information-centric” model, adding firms, investment, taxation and predation (i.e., extortionary violence by rebels in response to investment) to the interplay of government, rebels and civilians, generating testable implications. The data show that increases in investment predict increases in both government-initiated attacks and rebel-initiated attacks. In the year following increased investment government attacks decrease. In the context of our expanded model, these empirical results suggest that both rebels and governments contest economic rents.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18375.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18375
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  1. 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.
  2. Timothy Besley & Hannes Mueller, 2009. "Estimating the peace dividend: the impact of violence on house prices in Northern Ireland," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25427, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Brückner, Markus & Ciccone, Antonio, 2008. "Rain and the Democratic Window of Opportunity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6691, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. David Fielding, 2003. "Modelling Political Instability and Economic Performance: Israeli Investment during the "Intifada"," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 159-186, February.
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  7. Paul Collier & V. L. Elliott & Håvard Hegre & Anke Hoeffler & Marta Reynal-Querol & Nicholas Sambanis, 2003. "Breaking the Conflict Trap : Civil War and Development Policy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13938.
  8. Svensson, Jakob, 1998. "Investment, property rights and political instability: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1317-1341, July.
  9. Justin Yifu Lin, 2013. "New structural economics: the third wave of development thinking," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 27(2), pages 1-13, November.
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  12. Eli Berman & Michael Callen & Joseph H. Felter & Jacob N. Shapiro, 2011. "Do Working Men Rebel? Insurgency and Unemployment in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(4), pages 496-528, August.
  13. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
  14. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2009. "Civil War," NBER Working Papers 14801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Radha Iyengar & Jonathan Monten & Matthew Hanson, 2011. "Building Peace: The Impact of Aid on the Labor Market for Insurgents," NBER Working Papers 17297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
  18. Hirshleifer,Jack, 2001. "The Dark Side of the Force," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521009171.
  19. Benjamin Crost & Joseph Felter & Patrick Johnston, 2014. "Aid under Fire: Development Projects and Civil Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1833-56, June.
  20. Coyne, Christopher J. & Dempster, Gregory M. & Isaacs, Justin P., 2010. "Asset values and the sustainability of peace prospects," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 146-156, May.
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