Why is rebel governance more responsive to civilians in some areas than in others? In this presentation, Sebastian van Baalen will present new research that seeks to explain local variation in rebel governance responsiveness. Rebel responsiveness refers to the degree to which rebels are soliciting and acting upon civilian preferences in the way in which they govern. The study focuses on rebel governance by the Forces Nouvelles in Côte d’Ivoire between 2002 and 2010, and builds on a combination of in-depth field research, survey research, and a unique dataset of civil resistance in rebel-held Côte d’Ivoire. The main conclusion of the study is that rebel governance was more responsive in areas with strong local elites capable of amassing civil resistance against the rebels, than in areas with weak local elites. The study’s findings have important implications for the protection of civilians in civil war.