SEST-590 Economics of Sub-State Violence
Fall for 2016-2017
Spring for 2016-2017
Violence represents an option. Someone chooses violence when optimal. They choose it when the next best non-violent alternative is inferior, or not preferred. When those who chose violence run governments, and they choose violence against another
country, we call this war. But violence is not limited to between-state armed conflicts. And people in charge of much less than a state choose violence: criminals, rebels, and terrorists.
As policymakers and analysts, we often study the actions of states and heads of states. What can we learn from the study of sub state violence? It is
certainly relevant, especially in the post-9/11 world. What do we know about civil wars, criminal activity,
and terrorism? What can each teach us about the other? What can we learn from a rigorous analytical approach to these questions?
This course will provide its participants with an opportunity for such a rigorous analysis. We will
apply economic analysis to the questions of various types of sub-state violence. We will look for insights and analysis that can be applied to
I expect this course to innovate. It is a “survey” course in its breadth but will be run in a “seminar” style. We will spend a lot of time reviewing academic literature in order to identify worthwhile economic
analysis. We will then look to case studies to identify effective and efficient policies. Although we will spend a lot of time on economic theory, no economic background is required for this course.
Students will take an active part in the learning process. Each student must be prepared each week to lead class discussions on assigned readings. I encourage working in groups.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Spring '17: Shiffman G (file download)
Fall '16: Shiffman G (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
Other academic years
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