Austin L. Wright

Civilian Abuse and Wartime Informing

Civilian support is central to the success of counterinsurgent campaigns. Harm to civilians, and who harms them, influences when and with whom non-combatants collaborate. Drawing on newly declassified military records and a novel instrumental variables approach, we find robust, direct evidence that civilians respond to victimization by insurgents by providing intelligence to security forces in Afghanistan. These results clarify the conditions under which civilian casualties can shape the course of internal war, with implications for future research on political violence. 

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The University of Chicago