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The impact of child soldiers on rebel groups’ fighting capacities

Haer, R and Böhmelt, T (2014) 'The impact of child soldiers on rebel groups’ fighting capacities.' Conflict Management and Peace Science, 33 (2). 153 - 173. ISSN 0738-8942

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Abstract

© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. Several rebel groups actively recruit children to serve among their ranks. While this constitutes one of the most egregious violations of children’s rights, it remains unclear what impact recruited children have on the fighting capacities of these armed groups. The existing research suggests that, on the one hand, armed groups drafting children might also be militarily effective, since it is cheaper to provide for children, they are more obedient and aggressive than adults, and easily manipulable. On the other hand, children may negatively affect rebel groups’ fighting capacities as they are less proficient combatants than adults and often difficult to control. We add to this debate by systematically analyzing the quantitative evidence on the impact of child soldiers on rebel groups’ fighting capacities. Based on the analysis of newly compiled data on child recruitment by rebel groups between 1989 and 2010, our analyses show that children may actually increase rebel groups’ fighting capacities. That said, rebels’ ability to procure arms and the access to resources seem to be more important determinants of fighting capacity. The authors discuss these findings in light of policy implications and avenues for future research.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2015 09:05
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2018 23:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13553

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