How do rebel groups control territory and engage with the local economy during civil war? Charles Tilly’s seminal War and State Making as Organized Crime (1985) posits that the process of waging war and providing governance resembles that of a protection racket, in which aspiring governing groups will extort local populations in order to gain power, and civilians or businesses will pay in order to ensure their own protection. As civil war research increasingly probes the mechanisms that fuel local disputes and the origination of violence, we develop an agent-based simulation model to explore the economic relationship of rebel groups with local populations, using extortion racket interactions to explain the dynamics of rebel fighting, their impact on the economy, and the importance of their economic base of support. This analysis provides insights for understanding the causes and byproducts of rebel competition in present-day conflicts, such as the cases of South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
The model defines two object types: RebelGroup and Enterprise. A RebelGroup is a group that competes for power in a system of anarchy, in which there is effectively no government control. An Enterprise is a local civilian-level actor that conducts business in this environment, whose objective is to make a profit. In this system, a RebelGroup may choose to extort money from Enterprises in order to support its fighting efforts. It can extract payments from an Enterprise, which fears for its safety if it does not pay. This adds some amount of money to the RebelGroup’s resources, and they can return to extort the same Enterprise again. The RebelGroup can also choose to loot the Enterprise instead. This results in gaining all of the Enterprise wealth, but prompts the individual Enterprise to flee, or leave the model. This reduces the available pool of Enterprises available to the RebelGroup for extortion. Following these interactions the RebelGroup can choose to AllocateWealth, or pay its rebel fighters. Depending on the value of its available resources, it can add more rebels or expel some of those which it already has, changing its size. It can also choose to expand over new territory, or effectively increase its number of potential extorting Enterprises. As a response to these dynamics, an Enterprise can choose to Report expansion to another RebelGroup, which results in fighting between the two groups. This system shows how, faced with economic choices, RebelGroups and Enterprises make decisions in war that impact conflict and violence outcomes.
This model is part of a JASSS article that introduce a conceptual framework for developing hybrid (system dynamics and agent-based) integrated assessment models, which focus on examining the human impacts on climate change. This novel modelling approach allows to reuse existing rigid, but well-established integrated assessment models, and adds more flexibility by replacing aggregate stocks with a community of vibrant interacting entities. The model provides a proof-of-concept of the application of this conceptual framework in form of an illustrative example. taking the settings of the US. It is solely created for the purpose of demonstrating our hybrid modelling approach; we do not claim that it has predictive powers.
The purpose of this model is to enhance a basic ABM through a simple set of rules identified using the activity-driven models in order to produce more realistic patterns of pedestrian movement.
Simulates the construction of scientific journal publications, including authors, references, contents and peer review. Also simulates collective learning on a fitness landscape. Described in: Watts, Christopher & Nigel Gilbert (forthcoming) “Does cumulative advantage affect collective learning in science? An agent-based simulation”, Scientometrics.
We demonstrate how a simple model of community associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) can be easily constructed by leveraging the statecharts and ReLogo capabilities in Repast Simphony.
The model explores the emergence of inequality in cognitive and socio-emotional skills at the societal level within and across generations that results from differences in parental investment behavior during childhood and adolescence.
An agent-based model which explores Creativity and Urban Development
The model simulates interactions in small, task focused groups that might lead to the emergence of status beliefs among group members.
We provide an agent-based model of collective action, informed by Granovetter (1978) and its replication model by Siegel (2009). We use the model to examine the role of ICTs in collective action under different cultural and political contexts.
This model allows for analyzing the most efficient levers for enhancing the use of recycled construction materials, and the role of empirically based decision parameters.