Institutions, Civilian Resistance, and Wartime Social Order: A Process-driven Natural Experiment in the Colombian Civil War

Ana Arjona*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Why do armed groups fighting in civil wars establish different institutions in territories where they operate? This article tests the mechanisms of a theory that posits that different forms of wartime social order are the outcome of a process in which an aspiring ruler—an armed group—expands the scope of its rule as much as possible unless civilians push back. Instead of being always at the mercy of armed actors, civilians arguably have bargaining power if they can credibly threaten combatants with collective resistance. Such resistance, in turn, is a function of the quality of preexisting local institutions. Using a process-driven natural experiment in three villages in Central Colombia, this article traces the effects of institutional quality on wartime social order.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-122
Number of pages24
JournalLatin American Politics and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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