NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Eric Weese

Yale University
Department of Economics
Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
Tel: (203) 432-3617

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2017Insurgent Learning
with Francesco Trebbi, Austin L. Wright, Andrew Shaver: w23475
We study a model of insurgent learning during a counterinsurgency campaign. We test empirical implications of the model using newly declassified microdata documenting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2014. This period was characterized by substantial US investments in anti-IED technology and equipment. We find no evidence of decreasing effectiveness of IEDs across time. Qualitative evidence suggests that this is due to innovations in IED devices and tactics. Our results are robust to numerous alternative specifications, and yield insights on a technological revolution in insurgent violence—the proliferation and evolution of IEDs—with implications for scholarship on civil conflict and future investment in tactical countermeasures.
May 2015Insurgency and Small Wars: Estimation of Unobserved Coalition Structures
with Francesco Trebbi: w21202
Insurgency and guerrilla warfare impose enormous socio-economic costs and often persist for decades. The opacity of such forms of conflict is often an obstacle to effective international humanitarian intervention and development programs. To shed light on the internal organization of otherwise unknown insurgent groups, this paper proposes two methodologies for the detection of unobserved coalitions of militant factions in conflict areas, and studies their main determinants. Our approach is parsimonious and based on daily geocoded incident-level data on insurgent attacks alone. We provide applications to the Afghan conflict during the 2004-2009 period and to Pakistan during the 2008-2011 period, identifying systematically different coalition structures. Further applications are discussed.
 
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