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Do Working Men Rebel? Insurgency and Unemployment in Iraq and the Philippines

Eli Berman (), Michael Callen, Joseph H. Felter and Jacob N. Shapiro

No 15547, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Most aid spending by governments seeking to rebuild social and political order is based on an opportunity-cost theory of distracting potential recruits. The logic is that gainfully employed young men are less likely to participate in political violence, implying a positive correlation between unemployment and violence in locations with active insurgencies. We test that prediction in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines, using survey data on unemployment and two newly-available measures of insurgency: (1) attacks against government and allied forces; and (2) violence that kills civilians. Contrary to the opportunity-cost theory, the data emphatically reject a positive correlation between unemployment and attacks against government and allied forces (p

JEL-codes: F51 F52 H4 H56 J6 O12 O53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ara, nep-lab and nep-pol
Note: LS POL
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed

Published as “Do Working Men Rebel? Unemployment and Insurgency in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines.” (with Jacob Shapiro, Joseph Felter and Michael Callen), Journal of Conflict Resolution , August 2011 vol. 55 no. 4 496-528.

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