Tobias Böhmelt, Christoph Dworschak, Ulrich Pilster, Julian Walterskirchen
December 16, 2019
Article number: 20190022
This article studies the forcible relocation of large segments of the society in times of war. Theoretically, our work is based on the hearts-and-minds approach for explaining counterinsurgents’ strategies. We link this general framework to two more specific factors: insurgents’ external support and the incumbent’s status as a foreign occupier. The main contribution of our research is given by the cross-country empirical analysis, where we combine data on population displacement and counterinsurgency campaigns after World War II. We show that insurgents’ external support and incumbents’ status as a foreign occupier are among the main factors raising the risk of forced population resettlement. This article is a systematic, quantitative study of forced displacement across a large set of conflicts, and we demonstrate that the mechanisms behind forcible relocation as an indiscriminate strategy follow major trends across insurgencies.