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Recruitment Strategies of Rebel Groups: by Force, by Incentive, or by Task? Open Access

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How do rebel groups choose their recruitment strategies? In this dissertation, I classify recruitment strategies of rebel groups into three types: recruitment by force, recruitment by incentive, and recruitment by task. Building on this typology, I argue that two factors affect a rebel group's choice of its recruitment strategy: its vulnerability to desertion and resultant information leak, and the types of tasks within the group. This is because the three recruitment strategies vary in their selection effects in terms of agents' loyalties and capabilities. In order to test the plausibility of the argument, I analyze changes in organizational characteristics of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda. There, I first conduct a congruence test of the proposed theory against recruitment strategies of the two groups. In addition, to test the validity of the causal mechanism proposed in the theory, I draw its implications to the desertion rate in a rebel group, state counter-insurgency strategy, and the effects of a mass desertion on the course of civil war, and test their empirical validities. Findings in this study provide insights into the role of ethnicity in civil war, studies of duration and termination of civil war, and development of a political theory of organization.

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