Recent scholarship on violence against civilians during armed conflict has emphasized the role of armed group institutions in promoting and, occasionally, controlling atrocities. Given the many causal mechanisms identified (training, ideology, contestation, unit leadership), it remains unclear which of them does the explanatory work in which settings. This paper argues that extrinsic motivations (rewards and punishments) are insufficient to maintain behavioral control, and control is most effective when commanders work to align combatants’ preferences with their own. The argument is tested on micro-level evidence drawn from civil war in El Salvador.
Amelia Hoover Green homepage: http://ameliahoovergreen.com
Hoover Green, Emelia, Learning Restraint: The Role of Political Education in Armed Group Behavior Toward Civilians, Simons Papers in Security and Development, No. 30/2013, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, December 2013.
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