Targets of Violence: Evidence from India's Naxalite Conflict (Job Market Paper)
Abstract:Insurgents in civil conflict typically target both government forces and civilians. However, evidence on the causes of targeted violence against civilians is scarce. This paper examines the strategic choices of the targets and the intensity of violence by rebel groups. In a simple theoretical framework, negative labour income shocks are predicted to: (i) increase violence against civilians to prevent them from being recruited as police informers; (ii) increase the number of rebel attacks against the government, but only if the rebels' tax base is sufficiently independent from local labour productivity. These theoretical predictions are confirmed in the context of India's Naxalite conflict between 2005 and 2010. Exploiting variation in annual rainfall in a panel of district level casualty numbers, I find that negative rainfall shocks: (i) increase Maoist violence against civilians; (ii) increase Maoist violence against security forces, but only in those districts in which the Maoists have access to key mineral resources. These results underline that the logic of violence depends on its targets.
Job market paper:
Military Service and Human Capital Accumulation: Evidence from Colonial Punjab
Abstract:Voluntary military service could provide rare educational opportunities to recruits from disadvantaged groups. However, there is little evidence on the relationship between military recruitment and educational outcomes in developing countries. This paper estimates the impact of military recruitment on human capital accumulation in colonial Punjab. The empirical strategy exploits the exogenous increase in recruitment by the Indian Army during the First World War. Higher military recruitment is found to be associated with increased literacy at the district-religion level. The direct acquisition of literacy skills by illiterate serving soldiers appears to be driving this impact. Limited evidence is found of inter-generational spill-overs. Finally, a political economy mechanism is not supported in this context: military recruitment was not associated with increased investments of district boards in public education.
Short Paper (EHS Annual Conference 2011)
Coup-friendly Institutions and Apolitical Militaries: a Theory of Optimal Military Influence
Abstract:Military coups often attract popular support. Certain constitutions even contain clauses that implicitly allow the military to intervene in domestic politics. Also, the punishments for leaders of failed coups tend to be mild. However, even in countries with coup-friendly institutions, military officers are typically not allowed to participate in political debates. Hence, the institutions that govern civil-military relations seem to simultaneously encourage and discourage military influence over politics. This paper offers a theoretical model that rationalises these seemingly paradoxical institutions by highlighting the role of factionalisation within the military.