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Unpublished Paper
The Evolution of Revolution: Is Splintering Inevitable?
VMI Economics Working Paper Series (2013)
  • Atin Basu Choudhary, Virginia Military Institute
  • Laura Razzolini, Virginia commonwealth university

We use an evolutionary model to study splintering in rebels’ groups. We assume that rebels possess cultural traits that encourage cooperation, defection (splintering) or some sort of trigger behavior like Tit-For-Tat. We characterize the dynamic process through which the rebels’ discount rate determines whether splintering will occur in the population, even when cooperation is efficient. Contrary to the usual Folk Theorem prediction, we show that, even when rebels are extremely patient, cooperation may not evolve if the initial distribution of cultures in the population is not favorable. Thus, political actions by the states or governments that make rebels impatient may cause splintering to be almost inevitable. Our paper closes a gap in the literature by providing a theory for why rebel groups may coalesce or no. Policies that affect the patience of rebels and change the distribution of cultures have great influence on the likelihood of rebel groups splintering.

  • conflict,
  • rebel,
  • splintering,
  • evolution,
  • revolution,
  • patience,
  • policy
Publication Date
Winter January 27, 2013
Citation Information
Atin Basu Choudhary and Laura Razzolini. "The Evolution of Revolution: Is Splintering Inevitable?" VMI Economics Working Paper Series (2013)
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