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Civil Wars

This class investigates the causes of civil wars and how international actors can manipulate their occurrences and outcomes from a strategic perspective. Main topics covered are bargaining over war, international intervention, and terrorism/insurgency.

Lectures
  1. Introduction

    An overview of civil wars and this class.

  2. Bargaining in the Shadow of War

    Why does peace prevail most of the time?

  3. Information and War

    Why might bargaining fail if one side knows more about its own strength than the other?

  4. Reputation and War

    Might you want to fight to feign strength?

  5. Commitment Problems

    How does shifting power affect bargaining?

  6. Sanctions

    Why are sanctions effective even when they appear decidedly ineffective?

  7. The Conflict Trap

    Civil wars destroy economies, and destroyed economies are more likely to fight civil wars.

  8. Predation and Protection

    Why do some governments prey on their people, and why doesn't the international community do more to stop it?

  9. The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement and Costly Signaling

    How can lighting money on fire get you better outcomes?

  10. The American Civil War

    What you've been told about the war needs some adjustment.

  11. Moral Hazard

    Trying to stop wars might start more.

  12. Terrorism and Insurgency

    Why do terrorists and insurgent get involved in civil wars?

  13. Conclusion

    What did we learn?

Prerequisites

None, though it wouldn't hurt if you had background experience with game theory or international relations.

Syllabus

Lectures will appear on my YouTube channel Sunday-Thursday.

Additional information

This is not a class on the American Civil War, though it is one of many civil wars that we will discuss.

This class has a mirror on YouTube.

Teacher qualifications

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester specializing in international relations and formal modeling.

Latest Update

none

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