The Responsiveness of Rebel Governance in Man, Côte d'Ivoire


This study considers the concept of rebel governance responsiveness by the Forces Nouvelles (FN) in Côte d’Ivoire. Responsiveness refers to the degree to which a government’spolitical decisions correspond to its citizens’desires. The concept of responsiveness is vitalfor assessingregime types and constitutes an essentialmetric of democracy. However, the ideais rarely invoked in analyses of how rebel groups relate to civilian preferences in howthey govern citizens in rebel areas. The study makes three contributions. First, it develops a conceptualisation of rebel responsiveness across four domains:representation, security, taxation, and welfare. Second, it demonstrates the concept’s usefulness through acase study of two ethnic communities in Man, Côte d’Ivoire, using unique interview and archival data. The studyshows that while the FN governed both ethnic communities, rebel responsivenessdiffered in significantways. This finding highlights that focusing on the mereexistence, rather than the responsiveness, of rebel governance is insufficient for capturing the nature of civilian life under rebel rule. Third, the study showshow focusingon rebel governance’s responsivenesscan uncover new insights about civil war.

Program on Governance and Local Development Working Paper 34
Sebastian van Baalen
Sebastian van Baalen
Assistant Professor of Peace & Conflict Research

My research interests include the dynamics of violence and civil war.