The Devil's Calculus: Mathematical Models of Civil War
In spite of the movement to turn political science into a real science, various mathematical methods that are now the staples of physics, biology, and even economics are thoroughly uncommon in political science, especially the study of civil war. This study seeks to apply such methods - specifically, ordinary differential equations (ODEs) - to model civil war based on what one might dub the capabilities school of thought, which roughly states that civil wars end only when one side’s ability to make war falls far enough to make peace truly attractive. I construct several different ODE-based models and then test them all to see which best predicts the instantaneous capabilities of both sides of the Sri Lankan civil war in the period from 1990 to 1994 given parameters and initial conditions. The model that the tests declare most accurate gives very accurate predictions of state military capabilities and reasonable short term predictions of cumulative deaths. Analysis of the model reveals the scale of the importance of rebel finances to the sustainability of insurgency, most notably that the number of troops required to put down the Tamil Tigers is reduced by nearly a full order of magnitude when Tiger foreign funding is stopped. The study thus demonstrates that accurate foresight may come of relatively simple dynamical models, and implies the great potential of advanced and currently unconventional non-statistical mathematical methods in political science.
|Date of creation:||2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- International Monetary Fund, 2000.
"Corruption and Military Spending,"
IMF Working Papers
00/23, International Monetary Fund.
- Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 2000.
"Greed and grievance in civil war,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2355, The World Bank.
- Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
- Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
- Elbadawi, Ibrahim A. & Sambanis, Nicholas, 2000. "External interventions and the duration of civil wars," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2433, The World Bank.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8895. 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: (Ekkehart Schlicht)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.