Economic Competition and Civilian Support for Rebel Reintegration
34 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 01, 2021
Economic considerations play a critical role in combatants' participation in civil conflict. We bring novel evidence to bear on a related, but under-studied question: do economic considerations impact civilian support for conflict termination? Reconciliation depends on successful reintegration of ex-combatants into the peace-time economy. However, competitive considerations may undermine civilian support for reintegration. We provide evidence for this claim employing a quasi-experimental approach, leveraging localized effects of the 2015 Hindu Kush earthquake and individual-level survey data on support for Taliban reintegration. The earthquake reduced support for reintegration into disproportionately impacted economic sectors. We find no change in support for reintegration into unaffected sectors. The results are robust to a battery of tests including a novel spatial randomization with geocoded fault line segments representing the universe of counterfactual earthquakes. Our findings provide new insight into the economics of conflict resolution: economic considerations may undermine civilian support for rebel reintegration.
Keywords: civil war, reintegration, economic shocks, Afghanistan, earthquakes, natural disasters
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