An Epidemic Model of Violence and Public Support in Civil War

  title={An Epidemic Model of Violence and Public Support in Civil War},
  author={Yuri M Zhukov},
  journal={Conflict Management and Peace Science},
  pages={24 - 52}
  • Y. Zhukov
  • Published 1 February 2013
  • Political Science
  • Conflict Management and Peace Science
How do civilians respond to violence in civil war, and how do these responses shape combatants’ coercive strategies? Conventional wisdom expects civilian victimization to backfire, as a security-minded public “balances” against the side posing the greatest threat to its livelihood and survival. Yet combatants often expect a terrorized population to do the opposite, “bandwagoning” with those most willing and capable to inflict harm. Using an epidemic model of popular support dynamics, I explore… 

Figures from this paper

Popular Support, Violence, and Territorial Control in Civil War

I study civilians’ cooperation with an armed group in an irregular war. In the model, civilians differ in their valuation of siding with the armed group and make cooperation decisions without knowing

Wartime threats and displacement decisions: civilian self-protection strategies in the Battle for Abidjan

This thesis fits into the wider topic of how war impacts civilians, focusing on the littleunderstood mediating factor of how civilians protect themselves from wartime threat. The research context

Peacekeepers against ethnic and criminal violence : Unintended consequences of UN peacekeeping

This dissertation examines the unintended and collateral effects of third-party interventions in war-torn countries. Building on the most recent findings in peacekeeping literature that suggests an

Compliance vs. constraints: A theory of rebel targeting in civil war:

This article offers a theory of rebel targeting in civil war. Rebels face two logics of targeting: the logic of compliance in areas where they are fighting for territory, and the logic of legitimacy

Obstacle to Peace? Ethnic Geography and Effectiveness of Peacekeeping

Abstract Under what conditions does peacekeeping reduce one-sided violence in civil wars? This article argues that local sources of violence, particularly ethnic geography, affect peacekeeping

The effect of sexual violence on negotiated outcomes in civil conflicts

Combatants used sexual violence in approximately half of all civil conflicts since 1989. We expect that when groups resort to sexual violence they are organizationally vulnerable, unlikely to win,

Compliance vs. constraints: A theory of rebel targeting in civil war

This article offers a theory of rebel targeting in civil war. Rebels face two logics of targeting: the logic of compliance in areas where they are fighting for territory, and the logic of legitimacy

Population Attitudes and the Spread of Political Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

One of the most powerful predictors of violent political conflict is proximate violence in space and time. This spatiotemporal pattern has been identified between countries as well as within them.

A dynamic model of suicide terrorism and political mobilization

This study considers the problem of suicide terrorism, government counterterror responses, and the mobilization of recruits in support of the contending parties. A model is developed that enables

Peacekeepers against ethnic and criminal violence

Which geographic configurations of ethnic settlements are most susceptible to violence in ethnic conflict? Existing research on ethnic conflict focuses on regional configurations of ethnicity, thus



Rivalry and revenge: Violence against civilians in conventional civil wars

Recent research on violence against civilians during wars has emphasized war-related factors (such as territorial control or the characteristics of armed groups) over political ones (such as

The Political Economy of Death Squads: Toward a Theory of the Impact of State-Sanctioned Terror

A central theoretical question in the literature on state-sanctioned terror is whether, and under what conditions, repressive violence deters or stimulates a shift in popular support away from the

Draining the Sea by Filling the Graves: Investigating the Effectiveness of Indiscriminate Violence as a Counterinsurgency Strategy

It is commonly believed in the literature on insurgency and counterinsurgency that to be effective in undermining civilian support for guerrillas, violence against noncombatants must be selective or

How "Free" Is Free Riding in Civil Wars?: Violence, Insurgency, and the Collective Action Problem

That rebels face a collective action problem is one of the most widely shared assumptions in the literature on civil wars. The authors argue that the collective action paradigm can be both

Resisting infection: How state capacity conditions conflict contagion

The collapse of Mobutu’s Zaire and the arrival of father and son Kabila regimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (hereafter, the DRC) were hastened by the dramatic and tumultuous spread of

The [ F ] utility of Barbarism : assessing the impact of the systematic harm of non-combatants in war

Under what conditions does barbarism – a state or non-state actor’s deliberate and systematic injury of non-combatants during a conflict – help or hinder its military and political objectives? In

Are Coethnics More Effective Counterinsurgents? Evidence from the Second Chechen War

  • J. Lyall
  • Political Science
    American Political Science Review
  • 2010
Does ethnicity matter for explaining violence during civil wars? I exploit variation in the identity of soldiers who conducted so-called “sweep” operations (zachistki) in Chechnya (2000–5) as an


I use a rationalist framework to explore an issue typically framed and understood as irrational: large-scale violence against civilians in the context of civil wars. More specifically, I focus on the

Battle Losses and Rebel Violence: Raising the Costs for Fighting

In many armed conflicts, rebel groups deliberately target civilians. This article examines whether such violence is related to the performance of the rebels on the battlefield. It is proposed that

Bringing the State Back In: War Making and State Making as Organized Crime

Warning If protection rackets represent organized crime at its smoothest, then war making and state making – quintessential protection rackets with the advantage of legitimacy – qualify as our