Competitive Governance and Displacement Decisions Under Rebel Rule: Evidence from the Islamic State in Iraq
The Journal of Conflict Resolution (forthcoming 2020)
77 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2019 Last revised: 25 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 24, 2020
When rebel groups with state-building ambitions capture territory, who stays and why? Through semi-structured interviews and an original household survey in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was controlled by the Islamic State for more than three years, 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—relative to the Iraqi state—were more likely to stay under IS rule than those who perceived no change or a deterioration, but displacement decisions are multi-causal, influenced by many factors including economic resources, social networks and family structures, information, threat perceptions, and ideology. These findings suggest that historical experiences with weak rule of law and bad governance by states may affect the attitudes and actions of civilians living under rebel governance.
Keywords: Civil War, Displacement, Rebel Governance, Islamic State, Iraq
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