Accession Number:

ADA576241

Title:

Who Takes the Blame? The Strategic Effects of Collateral Damage

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

PRINCETON UNIV NJ WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2010-11-03

Pagination or Media Count:

77.0

Abstract:

Can civilians caught in civil wars reward and punish armed actors for their behavior If so, do armed actors reap strategic benefits from treating civilians well and pay for treating them poorly Using precise geo-coded data on violence in Iraq from 2004 through the beginning of 2009, we show that both sides are punished for the collateral damage they inflict. Coalition killings of civilians predict higher subsequent levels of insurgent attacks directed against Coalition forces while insurgent killings of civilians predict fewer such attacks in subsequent periods. The effect is short term, lasting less than four weeks, and is strongest in mixed districts and highly urban districts. Our findings have strong policy implications, provide support for the argument that information civilians share with government forces and their allies is a key constraint on insurgent violence, and suggest that theories of intrastate violence must account for civilian agency.

Subject Categories:

  • Weapons Effects (Biological)
  • Military Intelligence
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE