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Networks in conflict: theory and evidence from the Great War of Africa

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  • Michael D. König
  • Dominic Rohner
  • Mathias Thoenig
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

Abstract

We study from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective how a network of military alliances and enmities affects the intensity of a conflict. The model combines elements from network theory and from the politico-economic theory of conflict. We postulate a Tullock contest success function augmented by an externality: each group’s strength is increased by the fighting effort of its allies, and weakened by the fighting effort of its rivals. We obtain a closed form characterization of the Nash equilibrium of the fighting game, and of how the network structure affects individual and total fighting efforts. We then perform an empirical analysis using data on the Second CongoWar, a conflict that involves many groups in a complex network of informal alliances and rivalries. We es- timate the fighting externalities, and use these to infer the extent to which the conflict intensity can be reduced through (i) removing individual groups involved in the conflict; (ii) pacification policies aimed at alleviating animosity among groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. König & Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2015. "Networks in conflict: theory and evidence from the Great War of Africa," UBSCENTER - Working Papers 014, UBS International Center of Economics in Society - Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:uceswp:014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Coralio Ballester & Marc Vorsatz, 2014. "Random Walk-Based Segregation Measures," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 383-401, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hodler, Roland & Valsecchi, Michele & Vesperoni, Alberto, 2017. "Ethnic Geography: Measurement and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 12378, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1564-1610 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Jackson, Matthew O. & Nei, Stephen, 2014. "Networks of Military Alliances, Wars, and International Trade," Research Papers 3097, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. David Baqaee & Emmanuel Farhi, 2017. "The Macroeconomic Impact of Microeconomic Shocks: Beyond Hulten's Theorem," Working Paper 482151, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    5. Debarsy, Nicolas & Dossougoin, Cyrille & Ertur, Cem & Gnabo, Jean-Yves, 2018. "Measuring sovereign risk spillovers and assessing the role of transmission channels: A spatial econometrics approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 21-45.
    6. Hiller, Timo, 2017. "Friends and enemies: a model of signed network formation," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(3), September.
    7. Nicolas Berman & Mathieu Couttenier & Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig, 2017. "This Mine Is Mine! How Minerals Fuel Conflicts in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(6), pages 1564-1610, June.
    8. Morelli, Massimo & Rohner, Dominic, 2015. "Resource concentration and civil wars," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 32-47.
    9. Emerson Melo, 2018. "A Variational Approach to Network Games," Working Papers 2018.05, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    10. Kyriakos C. Neanidis & Christos S. Savva, 2018. "Regional Spillovers in Financial Dollarization," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 238, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    11. Zenou, Yves, 2014. "Key Players," CEPR Discussion Papers 10277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Alexander Matros & David Michael Rietzke, 2017. "Contests on Networks," Working Papers 156630581, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; alliances; civil conflict; Congo War; contest success function; enmities; network; rainfall;

    JEL classification:

    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions

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