Theses Doctoral

Rebel Territorial Control, Governance, and Political Accountability in Civil War: Evidence from the Communist Insurgency in the Philippines

Rubin, Michael

Under what conditions do rebel organizations control territory during civil war? How do civilians influence the distribution of territorial control? Why do rebels invest in governance, and why do they target civilians with violence, in some locations but not others? This dissertation advances a political accountability theory to explain how civilians influence the distribution of territorial control and governance during civil war. Existing research explaining variation in rebel territorial control and behavior have emphasized structural and organizational factors, identity politics, economic conditions, and geography. However, the classic insurgency literature and recent counterinsurgency doctrine emphasize the importance of securing civilian support and protecting the population to achieving military objectives in civil war. If true, civilians retain at least some power over rebel personnel. The accountability theory of rebel conduct provides a unified framework linking inter-related conflict processes associated with rebel groups’ territorial control, governance, and strategic use of violence during civil war. It argues that community collective action capacity, the ease with which communities facilitate collective action to pursue common interests, influences the distribution territorial control and belligerent conduct during civil war. The empirical strategy draws upon complementary quantitative and qualitative methods to test the accountability against plausible alternatives using village-level data from the communist insurgency in the Philippines. The results provide robust support for the accountability theory over plausible alternatives, and yield policy implications for peace-building and economic development in conflict-affected states.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Fortna, Virginia Page
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 15, 2018