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

Michael König (), Dominic Rohner (), Mathias Thoenig () and Fabrizio Zilibotti ()

No 14, UBSCENTER - Working Papers from UBS International Center of Economics in Society - Department of Economics - University of Zurich

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.

Keywords: Africa; alliances; civil conflict; Congo War; contest success function; enmities; network; rainfall (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C36 C72 D74 D85 F51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-net
Date: 2015-11
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Related works:
Journal Article: Networks in Conflict: Theory and Evidence From the Great War of Africa (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Networks in Conflict: Theory and Evidence from the Great War of Africa (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Networks in Conflict: Theory and Evidence from the Great War of Africa (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Networks in Conflict: Theory and Evidence from the Great War of Africa (1220) Downloads
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