Competition in the market for political violence : Northern Irish Republicanism, 1969-1998
Sawyer, John Paul.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Georgetown University, 2010.; Includes bibliographical references.; Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format. There has been considerable debate within the literature about how competition influences violent political organizations (VPOs). Applying economic theories of competition to the production of violence by terrorist or other VPOs yields considerable insight into their strategic behavior. Subversive groups cannot survive and continue to operate without a reservoir of political support, both active and passive, within the constituent base they claim to represent. These constituents exchange their support for the groups' violence when it is perceived to advance a preferred political agenda. However, violence also generates opposition from those constituents who perceive violence to be misguided, counter-productive or illegitimate. VPOs seek to maintain or increase their power within the constituent community by choosing the type and amount of violence that maximizes support and minimizes opposition. As such, VPOs are subject to the same forces of supply, demand and competition as firms in a market. Indeed, a qualitative time-series analysis of Republican groups in Northern Ireland finds typical market strategies employed, including attempts at product branding, productive outbidding, and reductions in violence by monopolistic groups. As the Northern Irish case demonstrates, violent monopoly power is an understudied but critical path to decreasing the levels of violence and achieving comprehensive conflict resolution.
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