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Networks in conflict: theory and evidence from the Great War of Africa


König, Michael D; Rohner, Dominic; Thoenig, Mathias; Zilibotti, Fabrizio (2015). Networks in conflict: theory and evidence from the Great War of Africa. UBS Center Working Paper Series 14, University of Zurich : UBS International Center of Economics in Society.

Abstract

We study from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective how a network of military alliances and enmities affects the intensity of a conflict. The model combines elements from network theory and from the politico-economic theory of conflict. We postulate a Tullock contest success function augmented by an externality: each group’s strength is increased by the fighting effort of its allies, and weakened by the fighting effort of its rivals. We obtain a closed form characterization of the Nash equilibrium of the fighting game, and of how the network structure affects individual and total fighting efforts. We then perform an empirical analysis using data on the Second CongoWar, a conflict that involves many groups in a complex network of informal alliances and rivalries. We es- timate the fighting externalities, and use these to infer the extent to which the conflict intensity can be reduced through (i) removing individual groups involved in the conflict; (ii) pacification policies aimed at alleviating animosity among groups.

Abstract

We study from both a theoretical and an empirical perspective how a network of military alliances and enmities affects the intensity of a conflict. The model combines elements from network theory and from the politico-economic theory of conflict. We postulate a Tullock contest success function augmented by an externality: each group’s strength is increased by the fighting effort of its allies, and weakened by the fighting effort of its rivals. We obtain a closed form characterization of the Nash equilibrium of the fighting game, and of how the network structure affects individual and total fighting efforts. We then perform an empirical analysis using data on the Second CongoWar, a conflict that involves many groups in a complex network of informal alliances and rivalries. We es- timate the fighting externalities, and use these to infer the extent to which the conflict intensity can be reduced through (i) removing individual groups involved in the conflict; (ii) pacification policies aimed at alleviating animosity among groups.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
03 Faculty of Economics > UBS International Center of Economics in Society
Working Paper Series > UBS Center Working Paper Series
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
JEL Classification:C36, C72, D74, D85, F51
Uncontrolled Keywords:Africa, alliances, civil conflict, Congo War, contest success function, enmities, network, rainfall
Language:English
Date:November 2015
Deposited On:16 Dec 2015 14:21
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 10:11
Series Name:UBS Center Working Paper Series
Number of Pages:51
ISSN:2296-2778
OA Status:Green
Official URL:http://www.ubscenter.uzh.ch/assets/workingpapers/WP14_Networks_in_Conflict.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.ubscenter.uzh.ch/index.php/de/publications/workingpapers
http://www.zora.uzh.ch/134188/

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