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Title: Essays on the Political Economy of Conflict and Militancy in Divided Societies
Authors: Pant, Saurabh
Advisors: Shapiro, Jacob
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Conflict
Middle East
South Asia
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation consists of three essays on militancy and conflict in a diverse range of divided societies. The first chapter, “Mob Violence and Militancy: The Case of Indian Muslims,” studies the determinants of militant mobilization among marginalized minorities by focusing on a puzzle concerning Indian Muslims. This minority Muslim population faces substantial and wide-ranging marginalization. Yet, militant groups, who exploit such grievances, have only been able to create relatively little militancy among Indian Muslims. To address this puzzle, I present a novel theoretical framework and develop a game theoretic model that demonstrate how the threat of retaliatory indiscriminate mob violence incentivizes Indian Muslims to prevent militancy within their community. The insights from the theory and model are then used to explain minority militant mobilization (or the lack thereof) in other current and historical cases. In the second chapter, “Winning Hearts and Minds in Civil Wars: Governance, Leadership Change, and Support for Violence in Iraq,” co-authored with Christoph Mikulaschek and Beza Tesfaye, we study the drivers of support among marginalized minorities for militancy in rebellious environments. Focusing on Iraq in 2014, we show how support for militancy is not a reflection of primordial sectarian animosity but is explained by perceptions of governance. Using a natural experiment, we demonstrate that aggrieved minority Sunnis will switch support away from armed groups and towards a Shia-led regime if they perceive the government to be an effective provider of public goods and services. Finally, the third chapter, “Power Sharing ‘Discontinuities’: Legitimacy, Rivalry, and Credibility,” studies how power-sharing pacts between a leader and a popular outsider can result in conflict. I develop a game-theoretic model that depicts a discontinuity in optimal power-sharing and counterintuitively shows that a leader should share more power with less trustworthy outsiders to avoid conflict. I then use these insights in an analytic narrative of the Investiture Controversy in Medieval Europe. This chapter is forthcoming as an article in the Journal of Theoretical Politics.
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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