Acting Like a State: Evidence from Colombian Paramilitarism


Bautista, María Angélica, Juan Sebastián Galán, and James A. Robinson. In Preparation. “Acting Like a State: Evidence from Colombian Paramilitarism”.


We use the experience of Colombian paramilitary groups as a natural experiment to test and develop new hypotheses about the process of state building. In 2006, the majority of paramilitary groups, made up of hundreds of fronts, demobilized under the Transitional Justice System (Sistema de Justicia y Paz). There is a large variation in the way different fronts used violence, provided public goods, raised taxes, decentralized operations or developed bureaucratic organizations. For the past years we have been collecting front-level data and undertaking in depth fieldwork with one block, the Peasant Self-Defense Forces of the Middle Magdalena (ACMM), to study the state-like behavior of these groups. 

Last updated on 10/31/2018