Insurgent Learning

58 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2017 Last revised: 21 Jun 2017

See all articles by Francesco Trebbi

Francesco Trebbi

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Eric Weese

Yale University Department of Economics

Austin L. Wright

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Andrew Shaver

University of California Merced

Date Written: June 2017

Abstract

We study a model of insurgent learning during a counterinsurgency campaign. We test empirical implications of the model using newly declassified microdata documenting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2014. This period was characterized by substantial US investments in anti-IED technology and equipment. We find no evidence of decreasing effectiveness of IEDs across time. Qualitative evidence suggests that this is due to innovations in IED devices and tactics. Our results are robust to numerous alternative specifications, and yield insights on a technological revolution in insurgent violence—the proliferation and evolution of IEDs—with implications for scholarship on civil conflict and future investment in tactical countermeasures.

Suggested Citation

Trebbi, Francesco and Weese, Eric and Wright, Austin L. and Shaver, Andrew, Insurgent Learning (June 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23475, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2980583

Francesco Trebbi (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Eric Weese

Yale University Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06511
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Austin L. Wright

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1307 E 60th St
Chicago, IL IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.austinlwright.com

Andrew Shaver

University of California Merced ( email )

Merced, CA
United States

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