View Full Version : Is There an "Emboldenment" Effect?

06-23-2008, 02:11 PM
National Bureau of Economic Research, Feb 08:

Is There an "Emboldenment" Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq (http://www.irs.princeton.edu/seminars/pdfs/Iyengar.pdf)

.....Is there evidence for an emboldenment effect in Iraq? Using data on insurgent attacks, variation in access to international news across Iraqi provinces, a measure of anti-resolve statements in the U.S. media, and the release of U.S. public opinion polls, we provide one possible picture of whether open public debate exerts a positive effect on the rate of insurgent violence. We identify a possible emboldenment effect by comparing whether anti-resolve statements or the availability of information about cost-sensitivity via poll releases have differential impacts on the rate of insurgent attacks in areas with higher and lower access to information about U.S news. This difference-in-difference approach isolates the effect of information about the level of U.S. resolve from the many other possible sources contributing to variation in insurgent attacks. We find that in periods immediately after a spike in anti-resolve statements, the level of insurgent attacks increases. Among provinces matched on a broad set of social and economic indicators, insurgent attacks increase between 7-10%. These results suggest, first, that there is a small but measurable cost to open public debate in the form of higher attacks in the short-term, and, second, that insurgent organizations - even those motivated by religious or ideological goals - are strategic actors....

Ken White
06-23-2008, 03:11 PM
Always trust your instincts... :wry: