Austin L. Wright

Unpacking the political economy of conflict and crime. 


Investigating conflict and crime to gain new insights.


Economic Shocks and Rebel Tactics

The character of violence within civil war ranges widely. In some engagements, rebels fight like guerrillas. Elsewhere, they fight like small armies. I link variation in rebel tactics with surges in wealth from the coca trade. 

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Rebel Capacity and Randomized Combat

Classic theories of counterinsurgency claim that the greatest advantage of guerrilla fighters is the 'element of surprise'.  We use newly declassified military records, fine-grained measures of rebel rents from opium production, and nearly half a trillion simulations to test this proposition in Afghanistan. 

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The Logic of Insurgent Electoral Violence

Electoral violence is a disturbingly common feature of democratic institutions globally. We use novel data that tracks insurgent activity by minute and meter in Afghanistan to better understand when and why rebels undermine elections. 

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Border Walls and Crime Spillovers

Border walls are politically contentious and poorly understood. We investigate how rapid construction of the Israeli separation barrier impacted criminal activity. 

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