The Handbook on the Political Economy of War
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The Handbook on the Political Economy of War

Edited by Christopher J. Coyne and Rachel L. Mathers

By defining political economy and war in the broadest sense, this unique Handbook brings together a wide range of interdisciplinary scholars from economics, political science, sociology, and policy studies to address a multitude of important topics. These include an analysis of why wars begin, how wars are waged, what happens after war has ceased, and the various alternatives to war. Other sections explore civil war and revolution, the arms trade, economic and political systems, and post-conflict reconstruction and nation building. Policymakers as well as academics and students of political science, economics, public policy and sociology will find this volume to be an engaging and enlightening read.
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Chapter 21: Dynamics of Military Occupation

Michael Hechter and Oriol Vidal-Aparicio


Michael Hechter and Oriol Vidal-Aparicio 21.1 INTRODUCTION The recent American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan has revived interest in the outcomes of military occupation, which is the most extreme form of alien rule. In contrast to annexation and colonialism, in this chapter military occupation refers to a type of alien rule that is imposed on the native society by a foreign power, and that the international community refuses to recognize as constituting permanent sovereign1 control.2 There is a pervasive consensus that alien rule, at least in modern times, is invariably malign, illegitimate and unsustainable (Hechter 2009a). This conclusion is far from wholly mistaken; there are many reasons why the histories of occupation in country after country have so often been unhappy. Occupation is generally disparaged because it entails major uncertainty and a high risk of loss for the bulk of those who are subjected to it. Occupation ushers in great uncertainty – this is why people flee the impending arrival of an occupying army en masse. Whose justice will rule the land? The common expectation is that it will not be the native’s justice. If alien soldiers confiscate or destroy native private property, will the alien rulers be motivated to seek justice? If occupying soldiers rape native women, will the occupying authorities step in to halt the practice?3 If most people dislike uncertainty, they are also quite averse to the prospect of certain loss (Kahneman and Tversky 1979). Especially for native elites, occupation typically results in the certain loss of...

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