Competitive Governance and Displacement Decisions Under Rebel Rule: Evidence from the Islamic State in Iraq
The Journal of Conflict Resolution (forthcoming 2021)
78 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2019 Last revised: 21 May 2020
Date Written: May 20, 2020
What are the conditions under which civilians living in territory captured by a rebel group will prefer its system of governance to that of the incumbent state? Given the opportunity to leave rebel-held territory, who stays and why? Through an original survey of 1,458 residents of Mosul, an Iraqi city governed by the Islamic State for more than three years and 61 semi-structured interviews, I conduct a multi-method descriptive comparison of the characteristics of “stayers” against “leavers.” I test and find some quantitative and qualitative support for a theory of competitive governance: Civilians who perceived improvements in the quality of governance under IS rule—in comparison with the Iraqi state—were more likely to stay than those who perceived no change or a deterioration. This finding suggests that weak rule of law and bad governance in Iraq may have contributed to civilian cooperation with IS.
Keywords: Civil War, Displacement, Rebel Governance, Islamic State, Iraq
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