Security Transitions

79 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2020

See all articles by Thiemo Fetzer

Thiemo Fetzer

University of Warwick

Pedro CL Souza

University of Warwick

Oliver Vanden Eynde

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Austin L. Wright

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 7, 2020

Abstract

How do foreign powers disengage from a conflict? We study this issue by examining the recent, large-scale security transition from international troops to local forces in the ongoing civil conflict in Afghanistan. We construct a new dataset that combines information on this transition process with declassified conflict outcomes and previously unreleased quarterly survey data of residents’ perceptions of local security. Our empirical design leverages the staggered roll-out of the transition, and employs a novel instrumental variables approach to estimate the impact. We find a significant, sharp, and timely decline of insurgent violence in the initial phase – the security transfer to Afghan forces; we find that this is followed by a significant surge in violence in the second phase – the actual physical withdrawal of foreign troops. We argue that this pattern is consistent with a signaling model, in which the insurgents reduce violence strategically to facilitate the foreign military withdrawal to capitalize on the reduced foreign military presence afterwards. Our findings clarify the destabilizing consequences of withdrawal in one of the costliest conflicts in modern history, and yield potentially actionable insights for designing future security transitions.

Keywords: Counterinsurgency, Civil Conflict, Public Goods Provision

JEL Classification: D72, D74, L23

Suggested Citation

Fetzer, Thiemo and Souza, Pedro CL and Vanden Eynde, Oliver and Wright, Austin L., Security Transitions (December 7, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2020-176, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3744279 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3744279

Thiemo Fetzer

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Pedro CL Souza

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Oliver Vanden Eynde

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Austin L. Wright (Contact Author)

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

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