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Do working men rebel? insurgency and unemployment in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines

Berman, Eli, Callen, Michael, Felter, Joseph H. and Shapiro, Jacob N. (2011) Do working men rebel? insurgency and unemployment in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 55 (4). pp. 496-528. ISSN 0022-0027

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0022002710393920

Abstract

Most aid spending by governments seeking to rebuild social and political order is based on an opportunity-cost theory of distracting potential recruits. The logic is that gainfully employed young men are less likely to participate in political violence, implying a positive correlation between unemployment and violence in locations with active insurgencies. The authors test that prediction in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines, using survey data on unemployment and two newly available measures of insurgency: (1) attacks against government and allied forces and (2) violence that kill civilians. Contrary to the opportunity-cost theory, the data emphatically reject a positive correlation between unemployment and attacks against government and allied forces (p <.05 percent). There is no significant relationship between unemployment and the rate of insurgent attacks that kill civilians. The authors identify several potential explanations, introducing the notion of insurgent precision to adjudicate between the possibilities that predation on one hand, and security measures and information costs on the other, account for the negative correlation between unemployment and violence in these three conflicts.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/002200271...
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author(s)
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2020 09:54
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 02:57
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/103018

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