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Recruitment and Allegiance: The Microfoundations of Rebellion

Title: Recruitment and Allegiance: The Microfoundations of Rebellion
Author: Scott Gates
Pub. Date: December 13, 2001
Full Text: Adobe Acrobat (PDF) [129 KB]

Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 46, No. 1, February 2002.
Copyright: Journal of Conflict Resolution

Civil war is fought between two political organizations, the state and a rebel group. Myriad theories of civil war have examined the role of state institutions and state strength, but little attention has been devoted to theorizing about rebel organizations themselves. This paper focuses on the organizational structure of rebel groups to understand patterns of recruitment and allegiance. Drawing on principal-agent analysis of participation and incentive compatibility constraints and the analytical tradition of rent-seeking contests, a model is developed demonstrating that three factors, geography, ethnicity, and ideology, play an important role in determining military success, deterring defection within the rebel group, and shaping recruitment.

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