Utilizing a principal-agent analysis of participation and incentive compatibility constraints, we develop a formal model of recruitment and retention in a rebel group with and without contestation. The model better accounts for positive utility from fighting, and is therefore useful for understanding recruitment and retention in a wider set of rebel groups, ranging from loot-seeking organizations motivated by private benefits on the one hand, to groups driven by individuals motivated by communal benefits or extreme religious principles on the other. We explore the differences between groups of varying degrees of extremist and non-extremist doctrine, focusing on the mobilization to such groups. The model shows a number of marked advantages for a group to adopt an extremist position.
Gates, Scott and Ragnhild Nordas. 2015. "Recruitment, Retention, and Religion in Rebel Groups." Prepared for the Peace, Conflict, and Development Workshop, Oslo. http://www.sv.uio.no/esop/english/research/news-and-events/events/conferences-and-seminars/dokumenter/gates_nordas_2015.pdf