This thesis seeks to understand the influence of the provision of Social Safety Nets (SSNs) on the ability of Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs) to perpetuate violence. It argues that when NSAGs provide SSNs in the absence of state provision, individuals will be more likely to engage in and justify violent activity, resulting in the growth of the NSAG and the proliferation of violence overall. The absence of state provided SSNs is proposed to deteriorate the social contract between the state and its civilians and reinforce negative sentiments and promote distrust. The absence of the state-civilian contract culminates in the creation of ideological communities composed of individuals who experience communal disenchantment and thus seek alternate sources of social safety net and service provision. When these alternate sources are provided by NSAGs, an increase in operational capacity due to the growth in organizational population, and a widened divide between civilians in the state occurs. Involvement in services provided by NSAGs and separation from state institutions contributes to an overall rise in extremist narratives and in the ability for the NSAG to engage in politically violent activity. I explore this relationship using a single linear regression analysis of 110 Non-State Armed Groups, observing the connection between the services they provide, and the amount of people harmed from 1970 to 2013, this resulted in a positive correlation between number of services provided and level of violence. This large-scale estimation, paired, with the mixed methods case study of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) provides a historical example of this progression with essential context for the proliferation of violence in the name of socially motivated political agendas, and an analysis of the relationship between state social expenditure, distrust, and political violence.


Krause, Brooke


Economics; Global and International Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar


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