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IPRC Research Webinar - Roya Talibova
Roya Talibova, University of Michigan, "Fighting for Tyranny: How State Repression Shapes Military Performance" (with Arturas Rozenas, NYU, and Yuri Zhukov, University of Michigan)

It is well-understood that autocrats often weaken their military through “coup-proofing” purges of competent but potentially disloyal officers. Such elite purges constitute only a tiny fraction of state violence, and we know little about how repression in the wider society shapes military performance. We assemble a novel dataset from millions of archival battlefield records of Red Army conscripts in the Second World War as well as political arrests and killings prior to the war. Results from three empirical designs consistently show that soldiers from places with more pre-war repression were more likely to fight until death or injury and less likely to flee the battlefield, but they also displayed less individual initiative. Repression may alleviate certain collective action problems associated with fighting, but it also incentivizes conformity that cripples the initiative.

Nov 5, 2020 11:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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