Date: May 2010
Creator: Quinn, Jason Michael
Description: In this project a theory of adaptive differential insurgency growth by the mechanism of repression driven contagion is put forth to explain variation in the membership and spatial expansion of insurgencies from 1981 to 1999. As an alternative to the dominant structural approaches in the civil war literature, Part 1 of the study proposes an interactive model of insurgency growth based on Most and Starr's opportunity and willingness framework. The findings suggest that state capacity, via its impact on state repressive behavior, plays an important gatekeeping function in selecting which minor insurgencies can grow into civil war, but contributes little to insurgency growth directly. In Part 2 of the study, I directly examine variation in insurgency membership and geographical expansion as a function of repression driven contagion. I find that repression increases the overall magnitude of insurgency activity within states, while at the same time reducing the density of insurgency activity in any one place. Despite an abundance of low intensity armed struggles against a highly diverse group of regimes around the world, I find an extremely strong and robust regularity: where repression is low - insurgencies don't grow.
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