What determines the type of violence used by military actors in civil wars? Drawing on Kalyvas’s “information problem” and Boulding’s “loss of strength gradient”, this paper proposes a simple model of how the violence becomes more indiscriminate as a function of distance from the actors’ power centers. The proposed mechanism is a growing inability of the actors to distinguish between collaborators of the adversary and innocent bystanders. Tested on the conflict event level for 11 cases of insurgency, the results indicate that a simple distance-decay mechanism can explain the occurrence of indiscriminate violence to a large extent.
Schutte, Sebastian (2017) Geographic Determinants of Indiscriminate Violence in Civil Wars, Conflict Management and Peace Science 34 (4): 380–405.