Networks in Conflict: Theory and Evidence from the Great War of Africa

69 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2015

See all articles by Michael König

Michael König

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Dominic Rohner

University of Zurich

Mathias Thoenig

University of Lausanne

Fabrizio Zilibotti

Yale University; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2015

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 Congo War, a conflict that involves many groups in a complex network of informal alliances and rivalries. We estimate 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.

Keywords: Africa, alliances, civil conflict, Congo War, contest success function, enmities, network, rainfall

JEL Classification: C36, C72, D74, D85, F51

Suggested Citation

König, Michael and Rohner, Dominic and Thoenig, Mathias and Zilibotti, Fabrizio, Networks in Conflict: Theory and Evidence from the Great War of Africa (January 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10348, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2554422

Michael König (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

Dominic Rohner

University of Zurich ( email )

Muehlebachstrasse 86
Zurich, 8008
Switzerland

Mathias Thoenig

University of Lausanne ( email )

Fabrizio Zilibotti

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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