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Repression and the Escalation of Conflict (RATE)
Start date: Feb 1, 2014, End date: Jan 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"The objective of this project is to uncover and explain the escalation and non-escalation of repression and intra-state armed conflict by analyzing how characteristics of the government and its formal and informal security apparatus shape the dynamics of such violence, paying particular attention to the role of monitoring and accountability. RATE analyzes when and under what conditions what types of human rights violations lead to the escalation or deterrence of further repression and armed conflict. Although there has been substantial increase in research on civil war, we know surprisingly little about the dynamics that escalate armed conflict within country-borders and those that prevent an escalation and what role human rights violations and informal armed actors play in those dynamics. While civil wars are a relatively rare occurrence, repression and human rights violations are not. What can this tell us about the link between human rights violations and repression? What leads to the escalation of political violence, increasing the severity and breadth of repression? What hampers the escalation of repression into civil war? Does the avoidance of civil war come at the cost of increased repression? The proposed project produces new data on personal integrity rights and civil liberties, disaggregated by type, intensity, perpetrator, as well as time and space, and on pro-government militias to investigate the conditions under which repression escalates and how monitoring and accountability of formal and particularly informal armed actors affect these escalation processes. It analyzes whether particular human rights violations prevent the escalation of violence by compromising the personal security of the people living in that country. An exploratory case study and agent-based models will be used to refine the theoretical argument, which will then be tested on the new data with cross-national quantitative analyses and three qualitative comparative case studies."

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