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Political Science and Political Economy Research Seminar

Fear and Dreams: Social origins of paramilitary behavior in Colombia

Jim Robinson (University of Chicago)

Tuesday 28 March 2023 14:00 - 15:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

We study variation in the governing strategies adopted by paramilitary fronts in Colombia between 2000 and 2006. We hypothesize that the social background of the front commanders was a prime determinant of the variation, specifically in the combinations of violence (fear) and public goods (dreams). In particular, campesinos (peasant) were more likely to have developed preferences characterized by reciprocity. We develop a model of reciprocity which predicts that more reciprocal commanders should provide both more public goods and more violence. The model also implies that such fronts should endure longer. Using a new dataset constructed from court records, transitional Justice documents and the media and using a regression discontinuity design we find support for all the predictions.

The Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE brings together faculty and PhD students who do quantitative and/or formal research on political institutions, political behaviour, public policy, and political economy.

The PSPE Research Seminar provides a venue for researchers (mostly from outside of the LSE) to present their work.

These seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, both ONLINE AND IN PERSON in room SAL 3.05, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar coordinator: Mathilde Emeriau

Contact to be added to the mailing list and to recieve the zoom link.

For further information please contact Maddie Giles: