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Title: A methodology for the measurement and analysis of civil conflicts with application to the case of Colombia
Author: Restrepo, Jorge Alberto
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 1913
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2008
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Civil conflicts are a major obstacle to economic progress and one of the main causes of human suffering and welfare loss. This thesis develops a methodology for measuring the intensity and dynamics of civil conflicts and applies it to the study of the Colombian civil conflict. Two empirical applications based on the dataset built following such methodology are presented. One application studies for the first time the relationship of state actions and paramilitary actions in the context of a guerrilla war, finding a large and significant substitution effect. The other application studies the relationship with the overall level of violence and conflict violence dynamically, finding that conflict violence causes a large variation in homicidal violence. The novel methodology introduced here has a double pillar for measuring conflict: events and victims. On this basis, a typology of conflict action types and forms of victimisation is developed and presented here, after careful consideration of alternative measurement approaches and available data. The method presented is compatible with other types of measurement, but it gives a much more accurate depiction of conflict activities and its effects. It is also appropriate for measuring conflicts in which several armed groups participate, as is usually the case. The methodology is applied to the Colombian case. The construction of an original, detailed, high-frequency data set on the civil conflict in Colombia is presented for the period 1974-2005. The Colombian case is introduced before presenting a study of the characteristics of the conflict, its dimensions, evolution and nature, based on the dataset. A detailed analysis of the victimisation of civilian casualties in the Colombian conflict by the different armed groups is presented. To this objective, a new quantitative approach to the analysis of human security during armed conflict is developed and applied to the Colombia war for the period 1988-2003. In addition, a typology of the armed groups is inferred from their actions. The quality of the methodology is tested by comparing the treatment of the case of Colombia in large cross-country conflict datasets and with other sources for shorter periods. We find that our database outperforms both with cross-country datasets and alternative micro- data for Colombia.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available