EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Rebel Capacity, Intelligence Gathering, and the Timing of Combat Operations

Konstantin Sonin (), Jarnickae Wilson and Austin Wright

No 13155, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: Classic theories of counterinsurgency claim rebel forces execute attacks in an unpredictable manner to limit the government's ability to anticipate and defend against them. We study a model of combat and information-gathering during an irregular insurgency. We test empirical implications of the model using newly declassified military records from Afghanistan that include highly detailed information about rebel attacks and counterinsurgent operations, including close air support missions, bomb neutralizations, and covert government-led surveillance activity. Our conflict microdata also include previously unreleased information about insurgent-led spy networks, where rebels monitor troop movement and military base activity, as well as military base infiltration and insider attacks. We couple these data with granular information on opium production and farmgate prices. Consistent with our simple theoretical model, we find that the capacity (wealth) of local rebel units influences the timing of their attacks. As rebels gather more resources, their attacks become temporally concentrated in a manner that is distinguishable from randomized combat. This main effect is significantly enhanced in areas where rebels have the capacity to spy on and infiltrate military installations. Taken together, these findings suggest economic shocks that increase the capacity of insurgents may influence the timing of rebel attacks through the acquisition of precise information about military weaknesses.

Keywords: Civil War; counterinsurgency; economic shocks; rebel tactics; spy operations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O1 P48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ict
Date: 2018-09
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13155 (application/pdf)
CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13155

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
http://www.cepr.org/ ... rs/dp.php?dpno=13155

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers Centre for Economic Policy Research, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

 
Page updated 2019-10-23
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13155