Abstract

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Does Combat Experience Foster Organizational Skill? Evidence from Ethnic Cleansing During the Partition of South Asia


Saumitra Jha


Stanford Graduate School of Business

Steven Wilkinson


Yale University

January 12, 2012

American Political Science Review, November 2012, (Revised)
Stanford Graduate School of Business Working Paper No 2092

Abstract:     
Can combat experience foster organizational skills that engender political collective action? We use the arbitrary assignment of troops to combat in World War II to identify the effect of combat experience on two channels that change local ethnic composition and future political control: ethnic cleansing and co-ethnic immigration. During the Partition of South Asia, we find that ethnically mixed districts whose veterans were exposed to greater combat exhibited greater co-ethnic immigration and minority ethnic cleansing, with minority out-migration achieved with lower loss-of-life. Further, where ethnic groups had been in complementary economic roles or the minority received greater combat experience, there was less ethnic cleansing. We interpret these results as reflecting the strategic role of ethnic cleansing and co-ethnic immigration by groups seeking political control and the role of combat experience in enhancing organizational skills at credibly threatening violence and engaging in collective action.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: Veterans, Organization, Public Goods, Endogenous Borders, Conflict, Genocide, Civil War, Partition, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Ethnic Cleansing, Institutional Change

JEL Classification: D74, F50, H62, J15, J60, N20, 015

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Date posted: January 15, 2011 ; Last revised: October 1, 2013

Suggested Citation

Jha, Saumitra and Wilkinson, Steven, Does Combat Experience Foster Organizational Skill? Evidence from Ethnic Cleansing During the Partition of South Asia (January 12, 2012). American Political Science Review, November 2012, (Revised). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1739812 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1739812

Contact Information

Saumitra Jha (Contact Author)
Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )
655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Steven Wilkinson
Yale University ( email )
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
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