The Empiricists' Insurgency

32 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2015

See all articles by Eli Berman

Eli Berman

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Aila M. Matanock

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2015

Abstract

Research on insurgency has been invigorated this past decade by better data, improved methods, and the urgency of understanding active engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. This empiricists’ insurgency reinforces a classic literature on the essential role of civilians while challenging older theories about how they affect conflict outcomes. It provides a general framework describing “irregular” insurgencies (where government capacity exceeds rebel capacity), which is analytically cohesive and empirically tested using subnational data from multiple conflicts. The new research provides guidance on intervention design, including governance improvement, development programs, and rules of engagement. The design of interventions matters: some key evidence comes from measuring the effects of misguided policies. The framework may enable better conceived and implemented interventions, including foreign engagements with and without troop deployment, depending on the type of insurgency and mindful of political limitations. We position these findings in the literature, and highlight directions for future research, including legal aspects of countering insurgency.

Suggested Citation

Berman, Eli and Matanock, Aila M., The Empiricists' Insurgency (April 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21061. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2590224

Eli Berman (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Aila M. Matanock

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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