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Behavioral Differences in Violence: The Case of Intra-Group Differences of Paramilitaries and Guerrillas in Colombia

Bassetti, Thomas and Caruso, Raul and Cortes, Darwin (2015): Behavioral Differences in Violence: The Case of Intra-Group Differences of Paramilitaries and Guerrillas in Colombia.

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Abstract

In most empirical studies on civil wars, causes and determinants of conflict have been hitherto explored assuming that actors involved were either unitary or stable. However, if this intra-group homogeneity assumption does not hold, empirical econometric estimates may be biased and policy prescriptions are less reliable. We use Fixed Effects Finite Mixture Model (FE-FMM) approach to address this issue. This methodology provides a natural representation of heterogeneity when data originate from different latent classes and the affiliation is unknown. It allows to identify sub-populations within a population as well as the determinants of their behaviors. By combining various data sources for the period 2000-2005, we apply this new technique to the Colombian conflict. Our results confirm a behavioral heterogeneity in guerrilla’s armed groups and their distinct economic correlates so showing that different patterns of behavior exist. By contrast paramilitaries behave as a rather homogenous group.

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