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Economics of National Security
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)
Economics of National Security Association
University of California-San Diego
Rebel Capacity and Combat Tactics
Classic and modern theories of rebel warfare emphasize the role of unexpected attacks against better equipped government forces. We test implications of a simple model of combat and information-gathering using highly detailed data about Afghan rebel attacks, insurgent-led spy networks, and counterinsurgent operations. Timing of rebel operations responds to changes in the group’s access to resources. Results are supplemented with numerous robustness checks as well as a novel IV approach that uses machine learning and high frequency data on local agronomic inputs. Main effects are significantly enhanced in areas where rebels have the capacity to spy on and infiltrate military installations. Consistent with the model, shocks to labor scarcity and government surveillance operations have the opposite effect on attack timing. We investigate the impact of attack timing on battlefield effectiveness and find that it reduces soldier efficiency during missions to ‘find and clear’ roadside bombs and increases bomb-related casualties to government troops.
What Determines Citizen Trust? Evaluating the Impact of Campaigns
The purpose of this study is two-fold. Firstly, we examine how exposure to violence and conflict influences general levels of trust, measures of life-satisfaction and attitudes towards formal and informal institutions in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan. Secondly, we study the impact of targeted messages, which were designed to inform the citizens regarding new government reforms (aimed at increasing transparency, protecting and strengthening private property rights, and improving service delivery) impact general levels of trust and attitudes towards institutions. For the analysis, an in-person survey was designed, which was conducted in randomly selected villages throughout KPK. Empirical results show that exposure to violence has a negative impact on trust and measures of life-satisfaction and has a positive effect on formal institutions. The results also suggest that the awareness campaigns affected trust levels and perceptions about quality of public services positively. Moreover, when the effects are allowed to differ based on exposure to conflict, we find important heterogeneity. The results are robust to different model specifications.
Trust Unraveled: The Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was one of the most devastating conflicts of the twentieth century, yet little is known about its long-term legacy. In this project we show that the war had a significant long-lasting effect on social capital, using geo-located data on historical mass graves and disaggregated modern-day survey data on trust. There appears to be a significant negative relationship between exhumed mass graves and this same trust variable, pointing towards the deleterious long-term effects of political violence against civilians. In turn, the results for general combat deaths are insignificant. To deal with the potential endogeneity of conflict, we use military plans of attack in conjunction with the historical (1931) highway network. We further decompose trust, finding negative effects of conflict on trust on institutions associated with the Civil War (i.e. the Civil Guard and the military), but no effects when looking at trust on democratic institutions. We also find long-lasting results on voting patterns, using a Regression Discontinuity around the Aragon Front. In terms of mechanisms, using a specialized survey on the Civil War and street-level data, we find lower levels of political engagement and differential patterns of collective memory.
Army Enlistment and Free Community College: The Case of Tennessee Promise
H0 - General
F5 - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy