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Title: Essays on Insurgent Strategy
Authors: Wright, Austin L.
Advisors: Ramsay, Kristopher
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: civil war
development economics
remote sensing
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: What constraints bind the strategy of insurgency? This dissertation examines four constraints---local income and capacity, ideology, macroeconomic conditions, and climate variability---in article-length chapters. In “Economic Shocks and Rebel Tactics,” I demonstrate that microlevel changes in civilian income, government capacity, as well as rebel strength, substantially influence when and where rebels can seize and hold territory using conventional attacks. The next chapter, “Terrorism, Ideology, and Target Selection,” leverages all instances of fatal terrorism in Western Europe since World War II to examine how the political ideology of a group limits the types of targets---civilians, politicians, rival non-state actors---they attack. The third substantive chapter, “Commodity Price Shocks and Civil War,” examines how a variety of large-scale, macroeconomic shocks impact the onset and persistence of civil war, challenging the intuition and empirical findings of current research. Finally, in “Climate Shocks, Price Dynamics, and Violence,” I present new evidence that insurgents are significantly less responsive to climate shocks than previously thought. Taken together, these essays yield insights on the constraints that shape the timing, character, and intensity of insurgent violence, with implications for public policy and future research.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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