The Forging of a Rebel

61 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2021

See all articles by Gauthier Marchais

Gauthier Marchais

University of Toronto - Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Christian Mugaruka

Marakuja Kivu Research

Raul Sanchez de la Sierra

University of Chicago

David Wu

University of California, Berkeley

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 29, 2021

Abstract

We use variation in exposure to victimization of 1,537 households of eastern Congo for each year of 1990–2013 to examine the formation of preferences to participate in armed groups. In this context, most armed groups are Congolese militia, whose objective is fighting foreign armed groups. We find that foreign armed group attacks on household members are associated with a larger propensity that individuals join a Congolese militia in subsequent years. The results are consistent with the formation of preferences arising from parochial altruism towards the family to fight foreign perpetrators. Specifically, we find that the effect is driven by the most gruesome of those attacks, by those that take place at a young age, and persists for several years. Consistent with parochial altruism, we find that the effect is largest when the victim is a household member or the village chief, smaller when the victim is another household in the village, and insignificant if the victim is in a nearby village. To examine the external validity of our result, we analyze heterogeneous effects by weakness of the state. We find that the response is concentrated in village-year observations in which state forces are absent. Finally, we show that, to undo this effect, the yearly per capita income outside armed groups would have to permanently increase 18.2-fold. These results suggest that intrinsic preferences are important for armed group participation relative to economic incentives, and emphasize their interaction with state weakness.

JEL Classification: D15,D72,D74,Z13

Suggested Citation

Marchais, Gauthier and Mugaruka, Christian and Sanchez de la Sierra, Raul and Wu, David, The Forging of a Rebel (April 29, 2021). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2021-53, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3836708 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3836708

Gauthier Marchais

University of Toronto - Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

Library Road
Brighton, Toronto BN1 9RE
United Kingdom

Christian Mugaruka

Marakuja Kivu Research ( email )

Goma
Congo, Democratic Republic of the (Zaire)

Raul Sanchez de la Sierra (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1307 E 60th st
Chicago, IL Illinois 60637
United States
9174889151 (Phone)
60637 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://raulsanchezdelasierra.com

David Wu

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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