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Competition and Civilian Victimization

Gibilisco, Michael and Kenkel, Brenton and Rueda, Miguel R. (2022) Competition and Civilian Victimization. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 66 (4-5). pp. 809-835. ISSN 0022-0027. doi:10.1177/00220027211070621.

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Violence against civilians in civil war is widely thought of as a strategic choice by combatant groups. We argue that a common strategic logic of competition underlies diverse theories of civilian victimization. We develop a theory of strategic complements in victimization, hypothesizing that an armed group’s propensity to victimize civilians will increase with its expectation that its competitors will act likewise. We test this argument by structurally estimating a formal model of strategic interdependence between armed groups using data from the Colombian civil war. Our findings indicate that strategic expectations are responsible for a substantial amount of violence against civilians: the two major combatant groups would have systematically victimized civilians in at least 9% fewer municipalities if they had expected no violence by their rival. Examining causal mechanisms, we also find that victimization in the Colombian case was more likely aimed at controlling civilians than at influencing peace negotiations.

Item Type:Article
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Gibilisco, Michael0000-0002-6484-1314
Additional Information:© 2022 SAGE Publications. First Published February 26, 2022.
Subject Keywords:Colombia, game theory, civilian casualties, civil wars, structural estimation
Issue or Number:4-5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220413-178083300
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Official Citation:Gibilisco, Michael, et al. “Competition and Civilian Victimization.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 66, no. 4–5, May 2022, pp. 809–835, doi:10.1177/00220027211070621
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114283
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Apr 2022 21:39
Last Modified:11 May 2022 22:10

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