Rebel Governance in De Facto States: An Empirical Test

427 Muirhead Tower
Monday 18 March 2019 (14:30-16:00)

Speaker: Dr Adrian Florea, Lecturer in International Relations, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow.

Abstract: De facto states, such as Somaliland (Somalia), are unrecognized separatist enclaves that display many characteristics of statehood but lack an international legal status. To gain domestic and external legitimacy, these actors engage in a wide range of governance practices: they set up separate military and police forces, separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches, separate hospitals, schools, banks, or social security networks. Besides bolstering their legitimacy with local and foreign audiences, an extensive governance apparatus yields various payoffs: it facilitates recruitment and resource mobilization, signals commitment to local rule, helps the hegemonic rebel faction eliminate internal competitors and consolidate a violence monopoly, or contributes to the internationalization of the dispute. In spite of the obvious gains that can be accrued through the establishment of a complex governance architecture, de facto states exhibit great variation in the range of statelike institutions that they build: some, like People's Republic of Luhansk (Ukraine) put together a rudimentary governance apparatus, while others, like Transnistria (Moldova), manage to construct a complex system of rule. What might explain the variation in governance practices across these separatist enclaves? Using original data, this study offers an empirical examination of several environmental and organizational factors that shape de facto state leaders' incentives to supply governance. The findings reveal that separatists in de facto states are less likely to provide governance when they have access to lootable natural resources and when warfare is ongoing, but are more likely to do so when they control relatively immobile assets, when they receive substantial external military support, when peacekeepers are present, when they adopt a Marxist ideology, and when they rule over a concentrated minority. The findings help us better understand how environmental conditions and the structural characteristics of insurgent movements shape the nature of rebel rule.

Biography: Dr Adrian Florea (PhD Indiana University, 2014) is a Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Glasgow. His research focuses on civil war, separatism, and rebel governance, and has appeared, or is forthcoming, in International Studies Quarterly, International Interactions, International Studies Review, Perspectives on Politics, Political Studies, and Security Studies. 

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