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

Listed author(s):
  • Michael D. König
  • Dominic Rohner
  • Mathias Thoenig
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

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.

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File URL: http://www.ubscenter.uzh.ch/assets/workingpapers/WP14_Networks_in_Conflict.pdf
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Paper provided by UBS International Center of Economics in Society - Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series UBSCENTER - Working Papers with number 014.

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Date of creation: Nov 2015
Handle: RePEc:zur:uceswp:014
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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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