Civil War as State Building: The Determinants of Insurgent Public Goods Provision
Stewart, Megan A.
Why do some insurgencies provide public goods when most other insurgencies do not? Some rebel groups provide critical services, such as education or health care, to all people--even those unlikely to support the movement. Other rebel groups provide no services, or limit their provision to only those people who actively support, or are likely to support, the insurgency. To address this empirical puzzle, I rely on a multi-methods approach that combines statistical analyses using new and original data with qualitative case studies, fieldwork and archival research conducted across three countries. I find that once secessionist rebels control territory, they are more likely to provide public goods. Public goods provision demonstrates an insurgency’s ability to perform the role of the state and enhances the group’s legitimacy domestically and internationally. Because secessionist rebels need international recognition to achieve their ultimate objective, they are more likely than other groups to use public goods provision as a strategic tool for generating legitimacy across multiple audiences. This research contributes to a more complete understanding of insurgent strategies in civil wars, as well as state formation processes in the post-1945 era.
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