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A Semi-Parametric Spatial Regression Approach to Post-War Human Security: Cambodia, 2002–2004

Abstract

Human security in post-war societies depends on incentives to forego violence in local interactions. The government of Cambodia monitors domestic violence, land conflicts and serious crime in over 13,000 villages and urban neighbourhoods. We use three annual data collections to estimate the response of these conflicts to the legacy of the war, poverty and resource competition, urbanity as well as governance quality. Bayesian spatial regressions help identify socio-economic thresholds beyond which conflicts expand or contract significantly. We find numerous non-linearities in the propensities for violence. Notably, predicted rates decrease in response to quality of governance only at a high level of service provision, which, realistically, most communities may not soon achieve. This may justify dedicated programmes addressing particular types of conflicts. We propose alternative analytic approaches, including some that would make the problem of endogeneity more tractable once updated poverty estimates become available.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    At the local level—i.e. the overall extent of the genocide is the subject of several country-level studies such as Kiernan (2003), Neupert and Prum (2005), and others based on sample surveys, e.g. de Walque (2005).

  2. 2.

    The effects on domestic violence and land conflicts just barely miss the significance mark. In the Bayesian estimates of these coefficients, 5.2% are below zero for domestic violence, and 5.8% for land conflicts. The percentage for serious crime is 14.9.

  3. 3.

    We are grateful to a reviewer who pointed out that Broadhurst’s observation was only in relation to homicide rates while our definition of serious crimes included also robbery, rape and serious theft. Broadhurst’s study showed, among other things, that robbery rates were consistently higher in urban areas.

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Acknowledgements

For technical advice that we received during the analysis, we express our gratitude to the following persons: Thomas Kneib and Andreas Brezger, Department of Statistics, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany; Kristian Gleditsch, Department of Government, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom; Wonjae Hwang, Center for International Studies, University of Missouri-St Louis, MO; and Lawrence Moulton, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

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Correspondence to Aldo Benini.

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Benini, A., Owen, T. & Rue, H. A Semi-Parametric Spatial Regression Approach to Post-War Human Security: Cambodia, 2002–2004. Asian Criminology 3, 139–158 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11417-008-9056-1

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Keywords

  • Human security
  • Semi-parametric spatial regression
  • Post-war society
  • Cambodia