Buying hearts and minds: modeling popular support during an insurgency via a sequential vote-buying game
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The population plays a crucial role in the outcome of an insurgency. The government needs intelligence from the population to effectively target and defeat the insurgents. In this thesis, we adapt a vote-buying model from political science to the insurgency context to analyze the level of intelligence the population will provide to the government. The model is a two-player sequential game in which both the government and insurgents can "pay" individuals for their support. These payments can take the form of direct bribes or the provision of benefits, such as building schools and roads. In the model, an individual supports the government by providing it with intelligence. We specify the optimal payment strategy for the insurgents and the government and determine how much support the government will receive. In an extension to the base model we allow the insurgents to use coercion as a means to deter individuals from supporting the government. Our analysis illustrates that coercion can be an effective tool for the insurgents in some situations but may backfire in others.
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