Self-censorship is of great importance in societies involved in intractable conflict. In this context, it blocks information that may contradict the dominant conflict-supporting narratives. Thus, self-censorship often serves as an effective societal mechanism that prevents free flow and transparency of information regarding the conflict and therefore can be seen as a barrier for a peacemaking process. In an attempt to understand the potential effect of different factors on participants’ willingness to self-censor (WSC) conflict-related information, we conducted three experimental studies in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Study 1 revealed that perception of distance from potential information recipients and their disseminating capabilities lead to higher WSC. Study 2 replicated these results and also showed that fulfilling different social roles has an effect on the WSC. Finally, study 3 revealed that the type of information has a major effect on WSC.
Outside options can induce bargaining asymmetries that influence the outcome of international negotiations. This article focuses, however, on the impact of a regime-provided inside option on the willingness to cooperate and the distributive outcomes reached. Using a new data set covering 417 maritime boundaries, that fall under the Law of the Sea framework, this article shows that the ability to find agreement is closely linked to the distributional outcomes that states are able to realize. Different potential gains from cooperation result in bargaining asymmetries that influence both the ability to settle a maritime boundary and the distributive outcome reached when cooperation succeeds. Our evidence shows that the opportunity to invest in long-term projects that require legal certainty, such as offshore oil, facilitates cooperation and is associated with smaller distributional adjustments.
Theories suggest that political ideology relates to cooperation, with conservatives being more likely to pursue selfish outcomes, and liberals more likely to pursue egalitarian outcomes. In study 1, we examine how political ideology and political party affiliation (Republican vs. Democrat) predict cooperation with a partner who self-identifies as Republican or Democrat in two samples before (n = 362) and after (n = 366) the 2012 US presidential election. Liberals show slightly more concern for their partners’ outcomes compared to conservatives (study 1), and in study 2 this relation is supported by a meta-analysis (r = .15). However, in study 1, political ideology did not relate to cooperation in general. Both Republicans and Democrats extend more cooperation to their in-group relative to the out-group, and this is explained by expectations of cooperation from in-group versus out-group members. We discuss the relation between political ideology and cooperation within and between groups.
We collect experimental evidence on a modified version of the standard ultimatum game in which the responder states an acceptance threshold below which the offer is rejected and both players, proposer and responder, are allowed several attempts to reach an agreement by conceding. Proposers concede by increasing offers and responders concede by decreasing acceptance thresholds. Treatments differ in whether a further attempt requires that at least one party should have conceded. A further condition varies the number of possible negotiating attempts, namely, 3 versus 5. Behavior in the lab diverges significantly from the theoretical solution in which the proposer is expected to get nearly the whole pie in each treatment. Proposers (responders) initially offer less (ask more) and concede more across negotiation attempts in the treatment in which concessions are required. Moreover, compulsory concessions weaken the bargaining position of the proposer, who eventually gets significantly less. Finally, although concessions significantly improve the likelihood of an agreement compared to standard ultimatum game experiments, the longer negotiation horizon (five attempts instead of three) delays the agreement without enhancing it, even when no concessions are needed.
Public opinion in postconflict societies toward international missions is widely believed to be important. We offer a theory that local satisfaction critically depends on an individual’s perception of whether the mission is furthering the wartime political agenda of his or her social group. To test this theory and competing hypotheses, we examine Kosovo Albanian satisfaction with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). We use data from seventeen different representative surveys conducted in Kosovo from 2002 to 2007 as well as focus group and other primary and secondary sources. Consistent with our theory, we find that aggregate satisfaction over time reflected UNMIK’s growing acceptance of Kosovo’s independence and individuals with more radical views tended to be less satisfied with UNMIK. Our analysis implies that missions can achieve greater local satisfaction by doing what is possible to be responsive to, or at a minimum recognize, the wartime political agendas of the key social groups.
Is there an association between oil and terrorism? If so, how are they linked to each other? While there are literature and anecdotes about oil money financing terrorism, this article identifies three mechanisms through which oil is linked to terrorism: funding, targeting, and motivating. Oil-producing countries are prone to terrorism because they are important targets of terrorists who may attack oil facilities to cause greater impact and to harm powerful countries’ overseas interests and also because oil often generates grievances or greed among local people who may in turn engage in terrorist activities. Using data on terrorist incidents and oil income, this article finds a strong, positive relationship between oil and terrorism. To test the mechanisms, this article uses both large-N and small-N data analyses, and the findings suggest that while all three mechanisms appear to explain the oil–terrorism linkage, the targeting and motivating mechanisms are more likely than the funding mechanism. Oil-producing countries have a higher tendency to sponsor terrorism, but no direct evidence indicates oil money flowing to terrorists except for money from kidnapping or extorting oil workers.
A large literature has emerged in political science that studies the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This article summarizes the lessons learned from this literature, both theoretical and practical. To put this emerging knowledge base into perspective, we review findings along two dimensions of conflict: factors influencing whether states or substate groups enter into conflict in the first place and variables affecting the intensity of fighting at particular times and places once war has started. We then discuss the external validity issues entailed in learning about contemporary wars and insurgencies from research focused on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars during the period of US involvement. We close by summarizing the uniquely rich qualitative and quantitative data on these wars (both publicly available and what likely exists but has not been released) and outline potential avenues for future research.
We explore US covert forcible actions against democratic governments and their citizens and show that interdemocratic use of covert force is common and can be accommodated within the theory of democratic peace. Grounded in the Perceptual Theory of Legitimacy, we argue that democracies are constrained by public perceptions of their legitimacy from overtly aggressing against other democratic states. When democracies desire to aggress against their democratic counterparts, they will do so covertly. We test the assumptions of the theory and its implication with (1) laboratory studies of the conflation of democracy with ally status and (2) historical analyses of covert militarized actions and prisoner detention, which show that US forcible actions, when carried out against democracies and their citizens, are carried out clandestinely.
States endowed with valuable lootable natural resources tend to experience longer armed conflicts, more intense fighting in extractive regions and face a higher risk of recurring conflict than states without such resources. At the same time, many states defy resource-fueled conflict traps and set up institutional arrangements that seem to alleviate the risk of recurring conflict. However, policy makers and academics alike lack a sound understanding of the link between postconflict stabilization and strategies of resource management that often escape the paradigm of "good resource governance." This article contributes to the questions of how to conceptualize diverse institutional arrangements in the resource sector and how to link these emerging institutions to postconflict stabilization. I develop a theoretical framework that predicts the risk of recurring armed conflict based on lootable resource management strategies and conditioning factors. The framework is then tested on a unique event history dataset. Results support the stabilizing effects of inclusive and publicly accountable modes of resource management as advocated for by proponents of "good resource governance." Alternative resource management strategies either increase the risk of conflict recurrence or interact with other variables, changing the prospects of postconflict stability in important ways.
Political economy debates about the influence of power configurations in expanding and maintaining global liberalization ebb and flow with the wax and wane of the concentration of power in the international system. This article engages the debate in a novel way from previous scholarship. Employing a series of econometric models that account for regional power, I argue that the global power concentration is ill fit to be the primary predictor of trade liberalization, but instead, regional power fluctuations can dampen and enhance global trends. By incorporating subsystemic power configurations, we gain a better understanding of the regional variation in states buying into or cashing out of interdependence.
Why do gangs proliferate during democratization and decline in number during authoritarian consolidation? I utilize primary evidence of two Indonesian gangs to inform a model of protection gangs under varying states of political development. Modeling gangs as territorial firms under different regulatory conditions, I attribute their number and political affiliation to the interaction between state capacity and political fragmentation. In weak states, gangs will lack political affiliations and their number will be determined by the scalability of their coercive capacities. In countries where states have the capacity to significantly constrain gangs, but lack significant costs for politicians to associate with them, gangs will seek political affiliation, trading coercive services for lax law enforcement. In such contexts, their number will be determined by state factionalization. Thus, gangs proliferate during democratization due to more political actors sharing state control. I assess the theory examining Indonesia’s history of statebuilding and political transition.
Increased complexity and density of transnational problems create unprecedented challenges and opportunities for contemporary international governance. "Issue linkage" is one institutional arrangement through which states address these changing circumstances. In this article, we examine the widening scope of the nontrade agenda in preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Nontrade issues (NTIs) such as human rights, democracy, environment, corruption, and labor standards are increasingly linked to PTAs. This issue linkage has important implications for understanding changing patterns of international trade, including the shift to PTAs and the rise of NTIs. We show that (1) states’ choices to commit to bilateral or plurilateral versions of traditional PTAs and to PTAs with NTIs are highly interdependent, (2) states increasingly incorporate NTIs into PTAs, as the associated costs of policy change are lowered through earlier agreements, and (3) network pressures favor the increasing adoption of bilateral and especially plurilateral NTIs over time. Using an original data set on NTIs covering 522 PTAs and spanning the period 1951 to 2009, we evaluate states’ motives behind the widening nontrade agenda of trade agreements using longitudinal network modeling. We employ multiplex coevolution stochastic actor-oriented network models in a novel design to account for interdependencies within and across states’ decisions. Following a descriptive mapping of major NTIs, we evaluate our theoretical arguments. Testing against the alternative explanations of power and commitment, we find that endogenous cost considerations are the most significant factor explaining the inclusion of NTIs into PTAs.
We seek a more accurate review of, and reflection on the gender and international relations (IR) literature than that offered by Reiter. Our evaluation corrects misunderstandings related to key dichotomies (mis)used in analyzing scholarship: sex/gender, positivism/nonpositivism, and epistemology/ontology. It also underscores the comparative strengths and weaknesses of different types of research in order to identify more fruitful possibilities for synthesis. We make the pluralist case that gender and IR research is at its best when it is multimethod, epistemologically pluralist, multisited, and carefully navigates the differences between feminist analyses and large-n statistical studies. The potential payoff of careful, synergistic engagement is worth any risks.
While a new, growing subset of the literature argues that armed conflict does not necessarily erode social cohesion in the postwar era, we challenge this perspective and examine how civil war experiences shape social trust in Kosovo after the war from 1998 to 1999. Based on a nationwide survey conducted in 2010 and the disaggregated conflict event data set of the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, we simultaneously analyze the impact of individual war-related experiences and exposure to war in the community through hierarchical analyses of twenty-six municipalities. Our findings confirm that civil war is negatively related to social trust. This effect proves to be more conclusive for individual war experiences than for contextual war exposure. Arguably, the occurrence of instances of violence with lasting psychological as well as social structural consequences provides people with clear evidence of the untrustworthiness, uncooperativeness, and hostility of others, diminishing social trust in the aftermath of war.
Recent scholarship has found evidence that refugee flows may inadvertently contribute to the spread of conflict across borders. Little is known, however, about the spatial diffusion of conflict within a state’s borders and what role internal displacement plays in such a dynamic. This question is of relevance because of the particular marginalization of internally displaced persons, which make them at risk of predation and militarization by armed groups. Drawing on a novel global data set on internal displacement, we evaluate this question and find evidence for a similar mechanism leading to conflict spread operating at the domestic level.
If peace fails due to incomplete information and incentives to misrepresent power or resolve, war is supposed to serve as a learning process and allows parties to reach a mutually preferable bargain. We explore crisis bargaining under a third type of uncertainty: the extent to which one side wishes to conquer the other. With incomplete information and take-it-or-leave-it negotiations, this type of uncertainty is isomorphic to incomplete information about the probability of victory. However, with incomplete information and bargaining while fighting, standard convergence results fail: types fail to fully separate because there is no differential cost for delay. Wars correspondingly last longer while benefiting no one. These results help explain empirical differences between territorial versus nonterritorial conflicts and interstate versus intrastate wars.
Based on a country panel from 1995 to 2013, this study examines the relationship between state failure and transnational terrorism with respect to perpetrator’s proximity to the target and logistical complexity of attacks. Using concentration curves and generalized estimating equation negative binomial models, the study shows that failed states experience significantly more transnational terrorism when the perpetrators are from the home country. But these states do not produce terrorists who cross borders and carry out attacks in other countries, neither do they attract foreign perpetrators. The latter suggests that conditions in failed states present major operational challenges to foreign terrorists. State failure also causes more logistically complex attacks due to lack of effective counterterrorism measures by failed states. The main results hold true for both relative and dichotomous measures of state failure.
We investigate how externalities and cooperation affect nations’ efforts to counter transnational terrorism activities. Our model captures three factors whose interplay determines counterterrorism (CT) efforts and terrorist activity: the size of the spillover effect, the degree of internalization of the externality, and whether nations’ CT efforts have an asymmetric or symmetric effect on the security of other nations. In our symmetric model, preemptive CT efforts and terrorist activities decrease with the size of the externality regardless of the degree of cooperation between nations. In our asymmetric model, as the externality of the "smaller" nation increases, the "larger" nations reduce their efforts, and the smaller nation reacts by increasing its own efforts. We also investigate coalition stability and show that (a) in the preemptive case, the full coalition is not stable and partial coalitions are stable for sufficiently small externalities; and (b) in the defensive, symmetric case, only the full coalition is stable.
Unequally distributed resources are ubiquitous. The decision of whether to promote competition or equality is often debated in societies and organizations. With heterogeneous endowments, we let subjects collectively choose between a public good that most benefits the less endowed and a lottery contest in which only one individual in a group receives a prize. Unlike standard theoretical predictions, the majority of subjects, including a substantial number of subjects who believe that their expected payoffs are better in the contest, vote for the public good. Our data suggest that people’s collective institutional choices may be driven by inequality-averse concerns. It also suggests that the collective decision to select the option for the public good depends on voting rules.
While armed conflict is ultimately about violent interaction between combatant groups, a variety of policies are pursued in conjunction with violence that contribute to the course of conflict and its outcomes. One underdeveloped area of research is the use of judicial and quasi-judicial processes during armed conflict. These processes, including trials, truth commissions, reparations, amnesties, purges, or exiles, are directly related to the actions and abuses of the conflict itself—a phenomenon we refer to as during-conflict justice (DCJ). To enable researchers to answer questions about when and why governments and rebels resort to these strategies, and to what effect, we created a global, cross-national dataset which includes 2,205 justice processes implemented during 204 internal armed conflicts between 1946 and 2011. Using these data, this article investigates the conditions under which governments and rebels employ DCJ as well as the potential effects of DCJ usage on conflict dynamics and outcomes.
Scholars have long held that Islamism—defined as a political ideology that demands the application of Islamic holy law and the deepening of religious identity—is in part a response to Western domination of Muslim lands. Drawing on the literatures on nationalism and international relations theory, we argue that Islamism is one of a menu of options that Muslims may adopt in response to Western hegemony—a menu that includes Arab nationalism and pro-Western accommodation. We hypothesize that a Muslim’s ideological response to Western domination is a function of the type of domination experienced—that is, military, cultural, or economic—as well as of individual-level characteristics such as intensity of religious practice. We test this hypothesis with a nationally representative survey experiment conducted in Egypt. We find that, among subjects in our study, pro-Western responses to Western domination were more common than "Islamist" or "nationalist" ones and that these were particularly driven by reminders of the West’s economic ascendancy. These findings suggest that foreign domination does not always yield defensive responses and often produces desires for greater cooperation with the hegemon.
Previous research demonstrates that refugee populations can threaten the security of receiving countries. This study, in contrast, seeks to examine the physical security challenges refugees face in host states. It utilizes a new, geographically referenced data set on subcountry refugee demographics to test the hypothesis that locations home to larger refugee populations are more likely to experience one-sided attacks by conflict actors. Results demonstrate that refugee accommodation is a significant predictor of one-sided violence in Africa. In particular, combatants commit significantly more acts of violence against civilians in locations home to larger numbers of self-settled refugees compared to other locations. These findings suggest that scholars and practitioners account for possible dangers presented by refugee flows and threats to refugees simultaneously.
Interest in processes has become increasingly pronounced in international conflict research in recent years, especially how these processes unfold across time "dynamics". We focus in particular on "stage conceptions" of dynamics: processes that unfold over a series of sequential, and possibly recurrent, stages. We suggest that stage conceptions have two key properties: plurisectality and conditional covariate effects. We propose a novel econometric application to quantitatively assess claims regarding stage conceptions of dynamics: survival modeling. Specifically, we use multistate models to examine how a process evolves through its individual stages, and also whether covariate effects differ across these stages. We use Huth and Allee’s territorial dispute data to demonstrate the importance of conceptualizing conflict as a dynamic process, as well as empirically modeling it as such. We show democracy has different effects on dispute resolution, depending on the dispute’s stage, but that these different effects disappear after time passes.
What is the relationship between landholding inequality and rural unrest? And why does land reform that ostensibly addresses rural grievances sometimes exacerbate unrest? We advance the understanding of these longstanding questions by shifting the emphasis from how landholding inequality fuels rural grievances to how it captures the collective action capacity of landowners. Using municipal-level data from Brazil’s large land reform program from 1988 to 2013, we demonstrate that the relationship between landholding inequality and unrest is conditional. Isolated threats to landed elites in the form of land invasions are difficult to repel, generating a positive relationship between landholding inequality and one-off land invasions. By contrast, sustained, broader local threats triggered by nearby land reforms catalyze landowner organization to repel land invasions, leading to the reverse relationship. The findings provide a novel answer for why a straightforward link between land inequality and rural unrest is elusive and may generalize to a broad range of similar cases.
This article considers how domestic protests influence coups. Protests signal regime illegitimacy, which incentivizes coups and provides a favorable climate for postcoup reforms. Protests also ease coordination obstacles among coup plotters and make international actors less likely to punish coup leaders. We expect these signaling processes to be strongest when protests take place near the capital or are nonviolent. Our empirical analyses introduce event-level protest data from the Social, Political, and Economic Event Database project into the coup literature. Examining a global sample of coup attempts from 1951 to 2005, we find strong support for our theoretical expectations. Our discussion provides implications for scholars studying coups and nonviolent movements more generally. It also speaks to the influence of external actors on social uprisings and highlights the importance of geographical disaggregation in the study of dissident behavior.
This article argues that revolutionary leaders are more willing to commit mass killing than nonrevolutionary leaders. Revolutionary leaders are more ideologically committed to transforming society, more risk tolerant, and more likely to view the use of violence as appropriate and effective. Furthermore, such leaders tend to command highly disciplined and loyal organizations, built in the course of revolutionary struggles, that can perpetrate mass killing. This study uses time series cross-sectional data from 1955 to 2004 to demonstrate that revolutionary leaders are more likely to initiate genocide or politicide than nonrevolutionary leaders. The violent behaviors of revolutionary leaders are not limited to the immediate postrevolutionary years but also occur later in their tenure. This demonstrates that the association of revolutionary leaders and mass killing is not simply indicative of postrevolutionary instability. This article also provides evidence for the importance of exclusionary ideologies in motivating revolutionary leaders to inflict massive violence.
Whether international humanitarian norms are respected during and after civil conflict depends on the behavior of both governments and nonstate actors (NSAs). However, international conventions on the protection of civilians generally do not address NSAs, as such conventions are open only to the representatives of states. In a pioneering initiative, the nongovernmental organization Geneva Call has started to address this problem by soliciting NSAs to sign "deeds of commitment" to ban particular activities violating humanitarian norms. Focusing on the case of antipersonnel mines, we examine why NSAs would choose to sign conventions that limit their autonomy, and whether such conventions can change the behavior of governments and nonstate armed groups. We propose a game-theoretic model of how the interaction between governments and NSAs shape their incentives to commit to and comply with international humanitarian norms. Our empirical evidence highlights the importance of these interdependencies between governments and NSAs in the realm of humanitarian engagements.
How does international public support via social media influence conflict dynamics? To answer this question, I construct a unique, extremely disaggregated data set drawn from social media sources to examine the behavior of Israel and Hamas during the 2012 Gaza Conflict. The data set contains conflict actions and international audience behavior at the hourly level for the full 179 hours of the conflict. Notably, I also include popular support for each side from international audiences on social media. I employ a Bayesian structural vector autoregression to measure how Israel’s and Hamas’s actions respond to shifts in international public support. The main finding is that shifts in public support reduce conflict intensity, particularly for Israel. This effect is greater than the effect of the key international actors—United States, Egypt, and United Nations. The results provide an important insight into how information technology is changing the role of international audiences in conflict.
When do states defend their reputations? States sometimes pay high costs to protect their reputations, but other times willingly tarnish them. What accounts for the difference? This article investigates reputation building in the context of coercive diplomacy. In coercive bargaining, giving in to a challenge can harm one’s reputation. I argue, however, that states value their reputations less—and therefore are more willing to capitulate to coercive threats—when they do not expect future challenges. Using a data set of more than 200 coercive threats, empirical tests find support for this logic. Coercers that are constrained in their ability to initiate future challenges exhibit higher rates of coercive success in the status quo. The results shed light on the causes of reputation-building behavior and add an important element to our understanding of the dynamics of coercive diplomacy.
Protests and democratic transitions tend to spread cross-nationally. Is this true of all political events? We argue that the mechanisms underlying the diffusion of mass-participation events are unlikely to support the spread of elite-led violence, particularly coups. Further, past findings of coup contagion employed empirical techniques unable to distinguish clustering, common shocks, and actual diffusion. To investigate which events diffuse and where, we combine modern spatial dependence models with extreme bounds analysis (EBA). EBA allows for numerous modeling alternatives, including diffusion timing and the controls, and calculates the distribution of estimates across all combinations of these choices. We also examine various diffusion pathways, such as contagion among trade partners. Results from nearly 1.2 million models clearly undercut coup contagion. In comparison, we confirm that more mass-driven political events robustly spread cross-nationally. Our findings contribute to studies of political conflict and contagion, while introducing EBA as an effective tool for diffusion scholars.
What determines the recidivism of ex-combatants from armed conflicts? In postconflict settings around the world, there has been growing interest in reintegration programs to prevent ex-combatants from returning to illegal activities or to armed groups, yet little is known about who decides to "go bad." We evaluate explanations for recidivism related to combatant experiences and common criminal motives by combining data from a representative survey of ex-combatants of various armed groups in Colombia with police records of observed behaviors that indicate which among the respondents returned to belligerent or illegal activities. Consistent with a theory of recidivism being shaped by driving and restraining factors, the results suggest that factors such as antisocial personality traits, weak family ties, lack of educational attainment, and the presence of criminal groups are most highly correlated with various kinds of recidivism and hold implications for programs and policies to successfully reintegrate ex-combatants into society.
Previous studies adopting the collective vulnerability approach have shown that condemnation of war atrocities is grounded in communal experiences of victimization and is strongest in locations where victimization was spread across ethnic boundaries. Based on a representative survey conducted in 2006 (N = 2,012) across the former Yugoslavia, we find a similar pattern for acceptance of collective guilt. While personal victimization does not have a significant impact, the acceptance of guilt is strongest in more war-affected regions. Moreover, the results show the importance of the type of communal-level victimization: acceptance of guilt is lowest in regions marked by asymmetric violence and highest in regions marked by symmetric violence. Our findings suggest that collective victimization should not be treated as a uniform phenomenon and challenge the assumption that rejection of in-group guilt is an inevitable outcome of collective victimization.
A prominent theory holds that groups may use terrorism in order to provoke governments into undertaking repression that alienates the population. However, virtually no studies have addressed the central puzzle of this provocation logic: why states would actually fall into this trap, if doing so can backfire. This study seeks to address this puzzle by suggesting conditions under which states would respond to terrorism with repression. I argue that states with limited bureaucratic capacity are more prone to using repression after terrorist incidents, as their ability to selectively crack down is inhibited by their more limited capability for controlling, monitoring, and collecting revenue from their populations and for collecting intelligence on suspected terrorists. Using a cross-national analysis with data from 1981 to 2011, I find it is low-capacity states which are most likely to respond to terrorism with repression, while constraints on executive authority have no clear effect.
There has been much disagreement about the relationship between civil wars and state economic performance. While civil war is often associated with poor economic performance, some states have managed robust growth despite periods of domestic armed conflict. We find this disagreement results from not accounting for the spatial distribution of conflict within a country. A robust literature in economics stresses the role major cities play in economic growth. We hypothesize that the economic impact of civil conflict is contingent on the conflict’s location relative to major urban centers within a state. We use subnational data on the location of conflict relative to urban areas to test the impact of domestic conflict on annual gross domestic product growth. In doing so, we bridge the economic development literature on the importance of cities with extant literature on the effect of armed conflict to provide a novel explanation for the paradox of high macroeconomic growth in conflict-ridden countries.
Few studies explain how wars affect trade with third parties. We argue that wartime trade policies should raise trade with friendly and enemy-hostile third parties but reduce trade with hostile and enemy-friendly third parties. At the same time, the private motivation of firms and households may be incompatible with national wartime trade policies and constrain the effectiveness of wartime trade policies. Our directed dyadic data set consists of almost all of the states from 1885 to 2000. Running a high definition fixed effects regression with two-way clustering of standard errors, we find that hostile third parties tended to reduce trade with a combatant state by roughly 30 percent. In addition, trade with third parties friendly to the enemy fell by a similar magnitude. In contrast, on average, war hardly affected trade with third parties because of substitution of war-ridden markets with third-party business partners.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is responsible for prosecuting crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Despite the potential for the ICC to deter human rights abuses, scholars and policy makers are divided on the effectiveness of it. This debate, however, is plagued by some important theoretical and empirical limitations. I address the problems in the literature and evaluate whether the ICC can prevent human rights abuses. I argue that the ICC can deter governments from committing human rights violations by imposing a variety of costs on them throughout their investigations that decrease their expected payoffs for engaging in human rights abuses. Across a variety of statistical estimators that account for standard threats to inference and several anecdotes, I find strong support for my theoretical expectations; leaders from states that have ratified the Rome Statute commit lower levels of human rights abuses than nonratifier leaders.
US noninvasion troops deployed abroad often try to promote greater respect for human rights in the host country. The host country, having an incentive to retain the troop presence, may choose to comply with these requests. We argue that this effect will not be at play in states with high security salience for the United States (US) (for which the US may not be able to credibly threaten to remove the troops). In these cases, US deployments will provide the leader with security from both internal and external threats that is independent of the local population’s support for the leader. Host state leaders thus become less reliant on (and potentially less responsive to) their local populations, which in turn may lead to increased human rights violations. In this article, we use data on both US troop deployments abroad and on human rights violations to test these arguments from 1982 to 2005.
Disputants might resolve their disagreements in a piecemeal fashion, addressing a subset of the issues at a time. How viable is such a strategy? I argue that partial settlements signal the desire to resolve disagreements and can lay the foundation for additional cooperation by building trust and/or demonstrating the benefits of dispute resolution. As a result, partial settlements should be associated with the resolution of remaining disagreements. Yet, scholars have questioned whether pursuing a piecemeal approach may be more harmful than helpful, and a systematic empirical test of these competing predictions is necessary. Using data from worldwide territorial claims between 1919 and 2001, I find a strong positive correlation between partial settlements and comprehensive dispute resolution. In the shorter run, partial settlements are also associated with an increased likelihood for peaceful negotiations, but there is only limited evidence that they reduce conflict before all aspects of the claim are resolved.
This study combines network science and ethnography to explore how al-Muhajiroun, a banned Islamist network, continued its high-risk activism despite being targeted for disruption by British authorities. We analyze news reports, interviews, and field notes using social network analysis and qualitative content analysis to test hypotheses pertaining to network structure and performance. Our analysis suggests that the activist network’s structural properties had important implications for its performance during three separate time periods. What began as a centralized, scale-free-like, small-world network centered on a charismatic leader evolved into a more decentralized "small-world-like" network featuring clusters of local activists connected through multiple bridges. This structure allowed the activist network to engage in contentious politics even as its environment became increasingly hostile. We conclude by discussing the implications of al-Muhajiroun’s small-world solution for scholars and policy makers.
Existing research has paid increasing attention to the role of political institutions such as legislatures and opposition parties in autocracies. So far, however, the relationship between nondemocratic institutions and state repression has remained largely unclear. This article argues that authoritarian institutions are related to divergent conflicting dynamics between incumbent regimes and opposition actors, which provide leaders with opposite incentives to repress. While authoritarian legislatures enhance leaders’ capacity to prevent conflict and reduce their need for repression, the presence of opposition parties helps opposition actors to overcome collective action barriers and mobilize against the incumbent regime, increasing the states’ need for repression. A panel data analysis of nondemocracies from 1976 to 2007 shows that authoritarian-elected legislatures reduce repression and the presence of opposition parties increases it. Moreover, the results indicate that autocracies with opposition parties and an elected legislature experience lower repression than autocracies with opposition parties but no elected legislature.
This article views death in battle as an opportunity cost whose size is determined by the number of years a rebel would have lived as a civilian. As civilian life expectancy declines, this opportunity cost does too, increasing the probability of rebellion. This theory is tested with a tragic natural experiment: the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Using male circumcision rates as an instrument for life expectancy, the analysis shows that a one-year increase in life expectancy decreases the probability of civil war by 2.6 percentage points. This supports the theory that opportunity costs are important determinants of conflict onset and that nonpecuniary opportunity costs should be taken into account. This article concludes by noting that cost–benefit analyses of public health interventions should include decreases in the probability of civil war, and the attendant benefits in terms of lives saved and material damage prevented, in their calculations.
In this article, we contend that the current gender and conflict literature ignores the context of military decisions and thus underestimates the support of women for certain types of military interventions. We argue that the issues related to humanitarian crises are likely to provoke support from women. Consequently, as more women enter elected positions in state legislatures, the more likely a state will become involved in a humanitarian military intervention. To test our argument, we compile a data set of humanitarian military interventions and women legislators from 1946 to 2003. A series of estimation approaches and robustness tests support our assertion that more women legislators impact the likelihood that a state will become involved in a humanitarian military intervention. Our research has specific implications on the role of gender in conflict processes and more general implications on the connection between domestic political processes and foreign policy decision making.
Appointing a successor (the "prince") allows the ruler (the "king") to alter the structures of conflicts that take place between him and his potential challengers, as well as the structures of conflicts that take place among his potential challengers. Motivated by historical examples and using an infinite horizon rulership competition game, we show that while an appointed prince constitutes a powerful and dangerous threat to the incumbent ruler (the elevated threat effect), the appointed prince can also offer the incumbent ruler increased protection against other potential challengers (the barrier effect). We determine conditions when the overall effect of appointing a successor benefits the incumbent ruler and enables him to acquire a larger share of the governance rent in equilibrium.
Paolino presents two core critiques of "Performing on Cue." First, he suggests that my dichotomous measures of support for the Iraq War bias against finding evidence of reinforcing cues. Second, he suggests that using party identification (ID) as a moderator for the treatment effects biases against finding an impact for elite cues. Unfortunately, Paolino’s statistical modeling choices do not reflect these theoretical concerns. His arguments about attitude strength and source credibility imply that the experimental treatments should have nonlinear effects. Yet Paolino relies on an ordinal logit model with a linear interaction of the treatments with a six-point index of party ID and Bush approval. A more appropriate approach for capturing Paolino’s critiques would estimate a multinomial logit model with categorical interaction effects between the treatments and the source credibility. These more appropriate statistical modeling choices reveal that the findings of "Performing on Cue" are very robust to the concerns raised by Paolino.
This study aims to explain the pattern of contributions to NATO’s military campaign in Libya. It combines collective action theory with hypotheses on balance of threat, alliance politics, and domestic constraints in a multicausal framework, which is tested with qualitative comparative analysis. The results suggest novel inferences on the interactions between partisan politics, and the benefits states wish to secure by contributing to a multilateral operation. Contrary to conventional wisdom, parties situated at the left of the ideological spectrum were more inclined to support Operation Unified Protector than parties situated at the right. Whereas left-wing governments participated if they had the resources to contribute significantly to the fulfillment of the protection mandate and either highly valued their alliance with the United States or were not facing imminent elections, right-wing governments only contributed if their countries’ interests were threatened by the crisis in Libya or their participation was critical for the operation’s success.
Insurgency and counterinsurgency are widely described as "population-centric warfare": a competition between military actors over civilian loyalties. Drawing on a high-resolution conflict event data set and a new approach for analyzing reactive behavior in space and time, this article answers the question of how civilian cooperation and defection are systematically driven by incumbent and insurgent violence. Theoretically, the study contributes to resolving a dispute between proponents of deterrence- and alienation-based approaches to population-centric warfare. Empirically, this analysis improves upon the mixed results from previous microstudies in favor of an integrated picture: indiscriminate violence has almost no effect on collaboration with the adversary in its immediate spatiotemporal vicinity. At larger levels of aggregation, however, a clear reactive pattern of collaboration with the adversary becomes visible which is in line with alienation-based reasoning.
I study civilians’ cooperation with an armed group in an irregular war. In the model, civilians differ in their valuation of siding with the armed group and make cooperation decisions without knowing others’ motivations or cooperation choices. I find that a superior military force is not sufficient to bring high cooperation and that full cooperation can only be attained if military power is complemented by expectations of punishment for helping the enemy. The model challenges the idea that random violence aimed at punishing enemy cooperators is used when selectivity is difficult to implement, and it shows that indiscriminate reprisals induce lower levels of cooperation, even when enemy cooperators are less likely to be punished with selective methods. Finally, I find that communities that have a highly centralized process of decision making are expected to give their support to only one group of combatants and to be exposed to less violence.
Since its establishment in 1963, the Correlates of War (COW) project has sought to build cumulative knowledge about international conflict through the application of the scientific method to the study of militarized interstate behavior. Early analyses from the COW project found substantial variation in the causal model of war across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but COW scholars later sought to develop a general model of war that avoided post hoc historical periodization. We use out of sample cross validation to evaluate the plausibility of assuming temporal homogeneity for statistical models of international conflict that span the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our results suggest that the causal model of war changes substantially across historical eras. In particular, great care should be taken in generalizing Cold War findings to other historical eras. Our findings demonstrate the importance of exploring temporal variation in the causal model of war.
Why do African regimes repress certain contentious challenges but not others? We argue that in addition to opposition claims and tactics, African regimes are especially likely to view challenges expressing ethnic and/or religious claims as threatening. However, in theorizing the decision to use repression, we relax the assumption that the state is a unitary actor. Leaders with a history of factionalism in their security forces face a delegation problem: orders to repress may not be followed or could even cause intraregime violence and/or defections. For this reason, states with divided security forces are less likely to enact repression. This potential for fracturing the regime will be greatest when the challenge has ethnic or religious claims and targets the state, implying an interactive effect. Using the Social Conflict in Africa Database, we find that regimes with a history of past military factionalism are generally less likely to use repression and are especially less likely to repress contentious challenges making ethnic or religious claims.
In this article, I synthesize a number of recent studies exploring how exports affect human rights, highlighting a common implication that this relationship is conditional on how exports are associated with leaders’ relative costs of repression and accommodation. Beginning with this synthesis, I develop a theory demonstrating how the composition of exports affects human rights via its impact on leader expectations. More diverse exports promote continued growth and prosperity, provide leaders with greater resources, and suggest conditions less conducive to severe dissent, all of which reduce the relative costs of accommodation. Repression is likely to threaten the benefits otherwise associated with greater export diversity; thus its relative cost increases amid greater export diversity. I test this theory using commodity-level data from the United Nations Comtrade database to create a country-year-level measure of export diversity. Statistical analyses spanning 1981 to 2009 support my expectation. My results are robust to sample restrictions and the use of instrumental variables.
Recent research concludes fighting or losing an interstate war is not costlier for democratic leaders than dictators, which implies most of our institutional explanations for differences in conflict behavior across regime type rest on empirically tenuous assumptions. I argue military mobilization, a fundamental but often overlooked aspect of war, should be costlier for democrats than dictators. Waging interstate war is associated with higher military spending and, often, lower social spending. Variation across regime type in the representation of the general public, civilian elite, and military in leaders’ winning coalitions should make democrats more likely than dictators to lose power given wartime patterns of government spending. This argument finds support during the period from 1950 to 2001. My findings provide microfoundations for a number of existing empirical results and suggest that differences in the conflict behavior of democracies and dictatorships should be largest when waging war requires a significant mobilization effort.
In this article, we demonstrate that through their use as tools of military containment, sanctions play an unappreciated role in international politics. We show that sanctions can be used to smooth shifts in relative power that would otherwise lead to preventive war. After presenting a model of shifting relative power and sanctions, we discuss two cases in which sanctions were imposed to destroy an adversary’s military capability. We also explore the implications of this argument for the evaluation of sanctions’ effectiveness. Because sanctions may be deployed as a mechanism to lock in the status quo rather than revise it, the outcome of a sanctions episode must be compared to its counterfactual rather than the status quo ante. Our argument suggests that sanctions may be effectively deployed in response to expected adverse shifts in relative power; therefore observed outcomes disadvantageous to the sanctioning state are insufficient proof that sanctions have failed.
We provide a new perspective on how domestic factors shape the prospects for international cooperation. Internal arms, specifically conscription, signal a willingness and suitability to be a dependable ally. Possessing ineffective military forces inhibits a state’s ability to assist prospective allies and renders a state less able to deter threats on its own. This exemplifies an instance where the trade-off between arms and allies does not apply. Using new data on the military recruitment policies of states since 1816, we find that adopting a conscription-based recruitment system in the previous five years makes a state more likely to form an alliance in the current year, even when accounting for a heightened threat environment.
This article describes a new data set consisting of precise digital maps of regions that were the subject of interstate territorial disputes in the period 1947 to 2000. Each dispute identified by Huth and Allee is rendered as a polygon corresponding to the area subject to overlapping claims. After describing the data collection procedures and presenting some descriptive statistics, this article develops three novel results that demonstrate the potential of geospatial data to advance our understanding of the causes and consequences of territorial conflict. In particular, I use the data to (1) show how different measurements of the geographic extent of disputes can help unpack the mechanisms through which they dampen international trade, (2) cast doubt on the role of oil deposits in fueling territorial conflict by analyzing the relationship at a finer level of spatial resolution than previously possible, and (3) examine the harmful legacy of territorial conflict on local development in formerly contested regions along the El Salvador-Honduras border.
The academic debate concerning public opinion about war focuses upon two explanations: cost/benefits and partisan cues. Both sides of this debate use laboratory experiments to estimate the influence of events and cues, but Gelpi is notable for using a well-designed experiment to compare the theories simultaneously. He argues that his results support the cost/benefits explanation as "surprising events" that counter individuals’ prior attitudes have significantly more effect than "surprising opinions" upon people’s attitudes toward the Iraq War. His analysis, however, considers only the direction, but not the strength, of people’s attitudes toward the war. Additionally, the measure of source credibility for determining the influence of cues is not optimal. When the analysis accounts for attitude strength and uses a better measure of source credibility, the results show little support for the effect of surprising events and markedly greater support for the influence of partisan cues.
The vast majority of the extant literature on trade and conflict focuses on bilateral trade to determine whether commerce has a pacifying effect upon pairs of states. We argue that this focus neglects a critical role of international trade: creating tension between states that sell similar goods to the global market. We consider this role explicitly and operationalize its effects empirically. Using commodity-level trade data from 1962 to 2000, we show that countries that produce and sell similar goods are generally more likely to fight, even after we take into account their bilateral trade ties and institutional membership in the global economic system. Our findings are robust to numerous alternative specifications and suggest a strong relationship between economic competition in the global market and military conflict between states.
High rates of missing perpetrator information in political violence data poses a serious challenge for studies into militant group behavior and the microdynamics of conflict more generally. In this article we introduce multiple imputation (MI) as the best available method for minimizing the impact of missing perpetrator information on quantitative analyses of political violence, a method that can easily be incorporated into most quantitative research designs. MI will produce valid attributions when the reasons for missingness are known and can be controlled for using observed variables, rendering responsibility for unclaimed attacks, i.e., "missing at random" (MAR) – which we show is a reasonable assumption in the case of political violence based on current theory of militant group claiming. We lay out the logics and steps of MI, identify variables and data sources, and demonstrate that MI produced better results in the case of Pakistani Taliban’s response to drone strikes.
This article develops expectations about the use of military force by democracies facing domestic terrorism. Due to the necessity of balancing effective counterterrorism with liberal acceptability, domestic terrorism typically represents a significant but nonexistential threat to democracies that is ineradicable via repression; as such, it is likely to generate appreciable diversionary incentives. Moreover, the use of force abroad, coupled with counterterrorist strategies that seek to safeguard democratic legitimacy, allows leaders to provide benefits both to citizens who seek retribution against terrorists and to those who value the preservation of liberty. Tests of the correlates of dispute initiation across all democracies, 1970–2000, provide support for this hypothesis. Further analyses reveal that diversion from domestic terrorism is most likely by democratic governments with relatively greater diversionary capacity and with lesser repressive capacity and incentive.
This study examines whether transnational terrorist attacks impact the political survival of leaders. We argue that external security threats, such as those from transnational terrorist incidents, can undermine incumbent target governments by exposing foreign policy failures and damaging society’s general well-being. Yet, terrorism may not destabilize democratic governments as a result of citizens rallying around their elected leaders in threatening times. Focusing on Archigos’ survival leadership data and International Terrorism: Attributes of Terrorist Events’ terrorism data for the 1968–2004 period, we find that autocrats who experience higher instances of transnational terrorist attacks are more likely to exit power. Democrats, however, are relatively secure to the destabilizing influence of transnational terrorism.
How does leverage vary across different mediators? What influence does this variation have on mediation outcomes? Extant literature has equated mediation leverage with material power. Leverage, however, is context dependent and comprised of two dimensions: capability and credibility. Capability leverage is a function of economic resources and power, while credibility leverage derives influence from historical and cultural ties that bolster a mediator’s contextual knowledge of a conflict. I hypothesize that mediators with capability leverage are more likely to achieve short-term success, whereas mediators with credibility leverage generate more durable settlements. I quantitatively test the hypotheses using civil war mediation attempts from 1989 to 2006. I find that capability leverage does indeed contribute to the achievement of short-term success; credibility leverage, however, generates a more durable peace. The results demonstrate the importance of understanding mediation leverage as a context-dependent concept and highlight the potential long-term benefits of softer forms of mediation.
Politicians (and journalists covering them) assume that association with the military has political consequences. We propose and experimentally test conditions under which military images have such effects. We presented subjects with images of the US president before varying backgrounds—including soldiers, students, children, and "ordinary" people. Only the image of soldiers has any significant effect, shifting participant preferences toward spending money on defense over education. The image does this by increasing respondent sense of threats to national security, despite the military’s depiction out of combat and in the background. The soldiers image does little to shift opinion about the president. However, the image has the largest hawkish effect on both the president’s copartisans and the strongest supporters. Given the routine use by many democracies of tactics unlikely to produce images of one’s fellow citizens in combat, the power of more sanitized images to cue hawkish policy preferences requires increased attention.
What explains the use of military conscription? Using a new data set of more than 100 countries over a period of 200 years, we examine the determinants of a state’s decision to implement a military draft. We argue that the decision to use conscription is largely dependent on historical factors. Specifically, we contend that former British colonies are less likely to use conscription as a means of military recruitment because of an anticonscription precedent set during the English Civil War. We find that former British colonies are far less likely to opt for conscription, even after controlling for counter arguments relating to a state’s colonial legacy. We also examine a number of existing explanations for the use of conscripts, using the data to arbitrate previous debates. We find that democracies are less likely to implement the draft, while states involved in an interstate war or interstate rivalry are more likely to do so.
Though approximately one in four coup attempts takes place during an ongoing civil war, scholars have not yet analyzed how the incidence of civil war affects coup attempts and outcomes. We conduct the first empirical analysis of the relationship between ongoing civil war and coup activity, finding (1) war increases the risk of a coup attempt, though (2) war-time coup attempts are significantly less likely to be successful, and (3) the risk of war-time coup is much higher when states face stronger rebel groups that pose greater threats to the political survival of the incumbent government. We attribute these findings to the pernicious effect of ongoing war on the welfare of the military elites and soldiers who have the greatest capacity to execute a coup attempt. As war diminishes their welfare and creates uncertainty about the future of the state, potential plotters become more willing to accept riskier coup attempts than they might plot during peace-time. Coup motivations are greatest when incumbents are more likely to lose their wars, and this causes coup plotters to attempt more and riskier coups when rebels are relatively strong.
China’s provision of development finance to other countries is sizable but reliable information is scarce. We introduce a new open-source methodology for collecting project-level development finance information and create a database of Chinese official finance (OF) to Africa from 2000 to 2011. We find that China’s commitments amounted to approximately US$73 billion, of which US$15 billion are comparable to Official Development Assistance following Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development definitions. We provide details on 1,511 projects to fifty African countries. We use this database to extend previous research on aid and conflict, which suffers from omitted-variable bias due to the exclusion of Chinese development finance. Our results show that sudden withdrawals of "traditional" aid no longer induce conflict in the presence of sufficient alternative funding from China. Our findings highlight the importance of gathering more complete data on the development activities of "nontraditional donors" to better understand the link between aid and conflict.
Existing research suggests that the use of harsh repression can exacerbate the incidence and duration of terrorism. Micro- and macro-level analyses have shown that coercive government responses to terrorism can radicalize sympathizers, increase recruitment, and undermine community support for counterterrorism policies, leading to backlash and increased terrorist activity. Focusing on torture techniques, this article aims to establish mechanisms implicit in the backlash hypothesis. These arguments imply that information about government transgressions is available to potential group sympathizers, but have not examined whether and how variation in the visibility of different torture techniques affects the likelihood of backlash. Scarring torture, a technique that is both more visible and less plausibly deniable than other forms of torture, is expected to produce higher volumes of terrorism. Using disaggregated data on allegations of torture from the Ill-Treatment and Torture project for 1995 to 2005, the analysis shows that scarring torture is consistently associated with increases in terrorism, whereas stealth torture has no statistically discernable effect on terrorism.
To what extent can international peacekeeping promote micro-foundations for positive peace after violence? Drawing on macro-level peacekeeping theory, our approach uses novel experimental methods to illustrate how monitoring and enforcement by a neutral third party could conceivably enhance prosocial behavior between rival groups in a tense, postconflict peacekeeping environment. Using a laboratory experiment in postwar Kosovo, we find that third-party enforcement is more effective at promoting norms of trust between ethnic Serbs and Albanians than monitoring alone or no intervention at all. We then consider real-world extensions for building positive peace across different intervention environments. Using a dictator experiment that exploits heterogeneity in NATO peacekeeping in different regions of Kosovo, our inferences about monitoring and enforcement appear robust to ecological conditions in the field.
When rebels provide social services, do they have more leverage negotiating the terms of a peace deal? The literature suggests service-providing groups may, on average, have a wider base of support and a more centralized organizational structure. We argue that these features deter potential spoilers from breaking away from the organization during negotiation processes. This, in turn, makes governments more willing to enter negotiations since the threat from spoilers is smaller. Thus, compared to nonproviders, service-providing rebels are more likely to engage in negotiations and these processes are likely to be more stable. This article analyzes these propositions by gathering service provision data on nearly 400 rebel groups and their involvement in and behavior during peace talks. It also serves as an introduction to a larger project about the implications of rebel service provision on conflict outcomes.
This analysis illustrates how violence patterns are shaped by local power concentrations. Disaggregated conflict analysis has led to major advances into understanding conflict trends, agents, and dynamics of violence but has not been matched by studies of disaggregated politics, in particular on the subnational level. This analysis details how conflict event location, frequency, and intensity is largely determined by levels of customary authority and development; while armed group bases and control networks are established in areas characterized by weak, co-opted local authorities, wealth generation possibilities, and proximity to other network nodes. This demonstrates that dominant opposition groups co-opt local elites and target those who cannot be easily co-opted or belong to alternative networks. Manifestations of conflict are therefore not well explained by the typically static resource, poverty, or state capacity measures. Local politics and customary authority determine where government, rebels, and militias dare to tread. Sierra Leone Local–Location Event Dataset—a new disaggregated data set on the Sierra Leone war and local source feature of Armed Conflict Location and Event Data—provides substantial evidence for our subnational conflict explanations.
While some borders are real firewalls against conflicts, others appear like tinder just waiting for the smallest spark. Only recently has research focused on the transnational perspective of conflict and current research has focused mostly on isolated aspects of this phenomenon. In this article, we provide a unified framework for conflict contagion that takes into account receiver, sender, dyad, and network effects. This is a novel perspective on conflict contagion, and our empirical results suggest that distinguishing between sender and receiver effects allows for a better understanding of spillover effects. We provide insights that especially excluded ethnic groups impact the risk of countries sending and receiving conflicts from its neighbors.
In addition to everyday political threats, leaders risk removal from office through coups and mass movements such as rebellion. Further, all leaders face threats from shocks such as downturns in their health, their country’s economy, or their government’s revenue. By integrating these risks into the selectorate theory, we characterize the conditions under which each threat is pertinent and the countermoves (purges, democratization, expansion of public goods, and expansion of private benefits) that best enable the leader to survive in office. The model identifies new insights into the nature of assassins; the relative risk of different types of leader removal as a function of the extant institutions of government; and the endogenous factors driving better or worse public policy and decisions to democratize or become more autocratic. Importantly, the results highlight how an increase in the risk of deposition via one means intensifies other removal risks.
Despite the frequent use of economic and military-specific sanctions against countries affected by civil conflicts, little is known about the possible impact that these coercive tools have on conflict dynamics. This article examines how threats and imposition of international sanctions affect the intensity of civil conflict violence. We formulate and test two competing views on the possible effect of economic and military-specific sanctions on conflict dynamics by combining data on fatalities in battle-related violence in all internal armed conflicts in Africa from 1989 to 2005 with data on economic sanctions and arms embargoes. The results indicate that threats of economic sanction and arms embargo are likely to increase the intensity of conflict violence. Similarly, imposed economic sanctions are likely to contribute to the escalation of conflict violence. Imposed arms embargoes, on the other hand, are likely to reduce conflict violence. We conclude that international sanctions appear to be counterproductive policy tools in mitigating the human cost of civil conflicts unless they are in the form of imposed arms embargoes attempting to limit the military capacity of the warring parties.
Many studies highlight the role that international intervention can play in prolonging civil wars. Yet, direct military intervention is just one way that external actors become involved in civil conflicts. In this article, a model is developed and analyzed that shows that when the government is unsure about how external support to the rebels will help rebel war-making capacity, it is the government that will continue fighting rather than settle the dispute. Different types of external support to rebels influence their fighting capacity differently, and some types of support create uncertainty about how new resources will translate into war-making ability. Specifically, more fungible sources of support (such as direct financial support) generate the most uncertainty for states as they attempt to estimate the effect of support to rebels on the conflict. Increased uncertainty inhibits bargained settlement, and disputes characterized by fungible external support are less likely to end than those where rebels receive different kinds of support. Empirical analyses demonstrate strong support for this argument; rebels that receive highly fungible external support (money and guns) are less likely to see conflict termination than rebels that do not.
This article investigates whether gender imbalance may be conducive to domestic terrorism in developing countries. A female-dominated society may not provide sufficient administration, law, or order to limit domestic terrorism, especially since societies in developing countries primarily turn to males for administration, policing, and paramilitary forces. Other economic considerations support female imbalance resulting in grievance-generated terrorism. Because male dominance may also be linked to terrorism, empirical tests are ultimately needed to support our prediction. Based on panel data for 128 developing countries for 1975 to 2011, we find that female gender imbalance results in more total and domestic terrorist attacks. This female gender imbalance does not affect transnational terrorism in developing countries or domestic and transnational terrorism in developed countries. Further tests show that gender imbalance affects terrorism only when bureaucratic institutions are weak. Many robustness tests support our results.
We study the factors that influence citizen support for defense spending in fourteen democracies over the period 2004–2013. We pose two research questions. First, what factors influence citizen support for war and military force? We refer to this as the acceptability of war. Second, in addition to the acceptability of war, what other factors affect support for defense spending? Our principal finding is that citizen acceptance of war and support for defense spending are most influenced by basic beliefs and values. Gender also has a strong negative influence on attitudes toward war and thus indirectly lowers support for defense spending among women. Attitudes toward war and defense spending are also sometimes influenced by short-term threats and by alliance considerations, but the effects are not as substantively meaningful. We conclude with a summary of the results and a discussion of the implications for theory and policy.
A well-functioning press is crucial for sustaining a healthy democracy. While attacks on journalists occur regularly in many developing countries, previous work has largely ignored where and why journalists are attacked. Focusing on violence by criminal organizations (COs) in Mexico, we offer the first systematic, micro-level analysis of the conditions under which journalists are more likely to be violently targeted. Contrary to popular belief, our evidence reveals that the presence of large, profitable COs does not necessarily lead to fatal attacks against the press. Rather, the likelihood of journalists being killed only increases when rival criminal groups inhabit territories. Rivalry inhibits COs’ ability to control information leaks to the press, instead creating incentives for such leaks to be used as weapons to intensify official enforcement operations against rivals. Without the capacity to informally govern press content, rival criminals affected by such press coverage are more likely to target journalists.
Existing research has uncovered strong geographical clustering in civil war and a variety of diffusion mechanisms through which violence in one country can increase the risk of outbreaks in other countries. Popular coverage of nonviolent protest often emphasizes regional waves like the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe and the Arab Spring. However, most research on nonviolence focuses only on features within countries affecting motivation and opportunities, and we know little about the possible role of diffusion and transnational factors. We detail how nonviolent campaigns in other states can increase nonviolent mobilization and direct action, highlighting important differences in the likely actors for violent and nonviolent direct action and the relevant diffusion mechanisms. We find strong empirical evidence for diffusion in nonviolent campaigns. The effects are largely confined to campaigns in neighboring countries, and there is little evidence of global diffusion. The potential diffusion effects are also specific to whether dissent is violent and nonviolent rather than general political instability. Moreover, we find that the effects of neighboring campaigns on nonviolent direct action apply only in cases with plausible motivation for contesting the government, and the effects are stronger when the regional environment can help expand opportunities for organizing dissent.
Borders constitute the international system of states. Accordingly, states will, from time to time, take assertive measures to secure the border, with among the most aggressive strategies being the construction of physical barriers, which we refer to as "border walls." Using original data on man-made border wall construction from 1800 to 2014, we theorize and find that in many cases, wall construction is about economic security. Significant economic disparities between the states will create incentives to illegally transport people or move goods readily available in the poorer country but highly regulated in the richer country. We find that economic disparities have a substantial and significant impact on the presence of a physical wall that is independent of formal border disputes and concerns over instability from civil wars in neighbors. In other words, "prominent examples such as the Maginot Line", constructed largely out of fear of attack, is an exception, not the exemplar, of the reasons states construct border walls.
Countries interested in the promotion of political development often provide aid in the form of democracy assistance. However, some regimes resist these attempts to promote democracy, introducing repressive measures to counteract their effectiveness. Hence, democracy assistance sometimes has the unintended consequence of curtailing democracy. This article explains how the size of the targeted regime’s military determines the effectiveness of democracy assistance and why it can sometimes result in lower levels of political freedom. Large militaries, often holding a privileged position in authoritarian regimes, will be threatened by political liberalization and its associated redistribution of resources. They will thus work with the regime to limit the effect of democracy assistance, while their size makes this repression more feasible. In states with smaller militaries, regimes have less incentive and capacity for repression, and democracy assistance is more successful at empowering democratic opposition. Cross-national statistical analysis of the United States Agency for International Development democracy assistance supports the argument.
The level of female representation has been found to lead to lower military spending and a lower level of state aggression. However, I argue that previous work has largely overlooked the impact of the international system on these three domestic characteristics. Specifically, the presence of an external threat from an interstate rival increases military spending, increases state aggression, and lowers female representation. Tests of this theory on democratic states from the years 1981 to 2007 find that the level of female representation decreases in states involved in an interstate rivalry and has a greater effect on female representation than factors routinely found to influence female representation. This article brings the international system into the discussion of factors that influence female representation while adding to previous literature on how the international system influences domestic politics.
This article is concerned with the role of perceived policy objectives in German citizens’ attitude formation toward military action in Afghanistan. While some scholars have claimed that public opinion is prudent because citizens assess the effectiveness of a mission on the basis of these perceptions, micro-level tests of this kind of prudence remain scare. Drawing on two cross-sectional surveys of the German population conducted in 2008 and 2009, we use responses to open-ended questions about the German government’s policy goals in Afghanistan to analyze whether such perceptions influenced support and whether any such influence was mediated via the perceived effectiveness of the mission. The results indicate that, irrespective of the level of political awareness, it was virtually irrelevant what German citizens perceived the military mission’s objectives to be. In contrast, value-based attitude formation emerges as more important, with the foreign policy predispositions antimilitarism and Atlanticism exhibiting especially large effects.
How does the way states finance wars affect public support for conflict? Most existing research has focused on costs as casualties rather than financial burdens, and arguments that do speak to the cost in treasure either minimize potential differences between the two main forms of war finance—debt and taxes—or imply that war taxes do not dent support for war among a populace rallying around the fiscal flag. Using original experiments conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom, we evaluate the relationship between war finance and support for war. We find that how states finance wars has an important effect on support for war and that the gap in support resulting from different modes of war finance holds across the main democracies engaging in conflict, regardless of the type of war or individuals’ party identification. The findings have important implications for theories of democratic accountability in wartime and the conduct of conflict, since borrowing shields the public from the direct costs of war and in turn reduces opposition to it, giving leaders greater latitude in how they carry out war.
Are certain ethnic cleavages more conflict-prone than others? While only few scholars focus on the contents of ethnicity, most of those who do argue that political violence is more likely to occur along religious divisions than linguistic ones. We challenge this claim by analyzing the path from linguistic differences to ethnic civil war along three theoretical steps: (1) the perception of grievances by group members, (2) rebel mobilization, and (3) government accommodation of rebel demands. Our argument is tested with a new data set of ethnic cleavages that records multiple linguistic and religious segments for ethnic groups from 1946 to 2009. Adopting a relational perspective, we assess ethnic differences between potential challengers and the politically dominant group in each country. Our findings indicate that intrastate conflict is more likely within linguistic dyads than among religious ones. Moreover, we find no support for the thesis that Muslim groups are particularly conflict-prone.
For more than two decades, private military and security companies (PMSCs) have become increasingly involved in armed conflicts. A common view is that PMSCs are menaces who simply take economic advantage of—and thereby aggravate—already bad situations. Yet, empirical research has rarely investigated these claims or the impact of commercial actors’ selling force-related services. This article investigates how PMSCs impact the severity of armed conflict in weak states and advances the argument that PMSC services increase the client’s military effectiveness. In turn, increased military effectiveness translates into increased conflict severity, the extent of which depends on type of service provided by the PMSC, the level of competition on the market, and oversight.
Third parties are thought to face a trade-off in that those actions most likely to bring peace in the short run appear least likely to ensure its long-run stability. Yet the trade-off between conflict management and conflict resolution may be overstated. Analyzing an iterated three-player bargaining model with both information and commitment problems, we first demonstrate two conditions under which third parties may produce lasting peace through conditional subsidies, even without addressing underlying informational or commitment problems. Second, we illustrate this possibility by analyzing the impact of US foreign aid on patterns of conflict and peace between Israel and her neighbors. Our analysis indicates that the termination of the rivalry between Israel and Egypt was most likely not brought about by the Camp David accords or peacekeeping operations, but by sustained foreign aid provision. We discuss the implications for both this conflict and conflict management more broadly.
Leaders use the distribution of economic rents to maintain the political support of regime elites. When countries join International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs, they are often required to implement a variety of free market-inspired reforms—such as privatization, reductions in government spending, and the restructuring of financial institutions—as a condition for receiving program funds. These types of reforms can diminish a leader’s capacity to redistribute wealth, which ultimately increases the risk of a coup. More specifically, when a leader begins the implementation of an IMF arrangement, the leader’s action provides public information about the leader’s weakened ability to redistribute wealth in the future. Thus, the act of implementing an IMF program provides each individual elite with information about his or her expected value of rents in the future, and this information gives elites who stand to be harmed by a reform an incentive to launch a coup.
United Nations (UN) General Assembly votes have become the standard data source for measures of states preferences over foreign policy. Most papers use dyadic indicators of voting similarity between states. We propose a dynamic ordinal spatial model to estimate state ideal points from 1946 to 2012 on a single dimension that reflects state positions toward the US-led liberal order. We use information about the content of the UN’s agenda to make estimates comparable across time. Compared to existing measures, our estimates better separate signal from noise in identifying foreign policy shifts, have greater face validity, allow for better intertemporal comparisons, are less sensitive to shifts in the UN’ agenda, and are strongly correlated with measures of liberalism. We show that the choice of preference measures affects conclusions about the democratic peace.
Recent debates have focused on the negative role of the proliferation of foreign aid facilities and donor fragmentation for development outcomes and recipient country institutions. This article investigates an overlooked positive side effect of donor proliferation. With an increasing number of donors, exposure to negative aid shocks decreases, as well as the impact of such shocks on violent political conflict. Using data on 106 recipient countries for the years 1970 to 2008 and employing event history and mediation analysis, we find strong evidence that fragmentation significantly reduces the risk for political destabilization associated with aid shocks.
Natural disasters often cause significant human suffering. They may also provide incentives for states to escalate repression against their citizens. We argue that state authorities escalate repression in the wake of natural disasters because the combination of increased grievances and declining state control produced by disasters creates windows of opportunity for dissident mobilization and challenges to state authority. We also investigate the impact of the post-disaster humanitarian aid on this relationship. Specifically, we argue that inflows of aid in the immediate aftermath of disasters are likely to dampen the impact of disasters on repression. However, we expect that this effect is greater when aid flows to more democratic states. We examine these interrelated hypotheses using cross-national data on immediate-onset natural disasters and state violations of physical integrity rights between 1977 and 2009 as well as newly collected foreign aid data disaggregated by sector. The results provide support for both our general argument and the corollary hypotheses.
Does international recognition of statehood affect support for territorial compromise among groups engaged in struggles for self-determination? We show that, contrary to skepticism about the impact of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), international recognition of statehood by the UNGA shapes mass attitudes toward territorial compromise. The impact of international recognition, however, is two-pronged. International recognition simultaneously increases support for partition as a strategy of conflict resolution and decreases support for compromise on the territorial terms of partition. We also suggest a logic to explain these impacts of international recognition based on the intuition that international recognition should improve the bargaining position of the newly recognized group. We demonstrate that international recognition has an impact on mass attitudes of groups in conflict using a combination of a panel survey and survey experiment assessing the impact of the 2012 UNGA recognition of Palestine. This study is the first to show that international recognition can shape mass attitudes toward conflict.
Hard times give rise to greater demand for protection. International trade rules include provisions that allow for raising barriers to aid industries when they suffer economic injury. Yet widespread use of flexibility measures may undermine the trade system and worsen economic conditions. How do states balance these conflicting pressures? This article assesses the effect of crises on cooperation in trade. We hypothesize that governments impose less protectionism during economic crisis when economic troubles are widespread across countries than when they face crisis in isolation. The lesson of Smoot–Hawley and coordination through international economic institutions represent mechanisms of informal governance that encourage cooperation to avoid a spiral of protectionism. Analysis of industry-level data on protection measures for the period from 1996 to 2011 provides support for our claim that under conditions of shared hard times, states exercise strategic self-restraint to avoid beggar-thy-neighbor policies.
How do the distributional consequences of economic sanctions impact future trade policy? Regardless of whether sanctions are effective in achieving concessions, sanctions restrict international trade flows, creating rents for import-competing producers, who are protected from international competition. These rents can then be used to pressure the government to implement protectionist policies. Thus, while the lifting of sanctions directly facilitates some international transactions, sanctions also have an indirect effect. They create powerful domestic interest groups in the sanctioned country who seek market protection. I use multiple estimators to evaluate the effect of trade sanctions on tariff rates. The evidence is consistent with the argument that sanctions increase market protection in both the short and long run.
We examine the social dynamics of crime by means of evolutionary game theory, and we model the choice of boundedly rational potential victims to privately self-protect against prospective offenders. Negative externalities from self-protection, as the socially transmitted fear of victimization, can influence the strategic choices of victims even with constant or declining crime rates, and this circumstance may lead to Pareto inefficient equilibria with excessive expenses for private protection. Providing higher levels of public security (or of appropriate social care) financed through discriminatory taxation of private defensive behaviors can prevent crime and reduce superfluous self-protection, thus driving the social dynamics toward a more efficient equilibrium. Public policy can therefore be effective in implementing the social optimum. This article extends previous work by Cressman, Morrison, and Wen by increasing the range of possible dynamics and the scope for public intervention. Consequently, in our model, public policy can deter crime and improve the welfare of victims by addressing the intangible aspects of crime, that is, the social dynamics of fear.
How and to what extent do states influence the level of democracy and autocracy in other states? We argue that states exist internationally in dependence networks with each other and that those networks provide pathways for influence on a state’s domestic institutions. For any given state, a dependence network is a set of partner states with whom it regularly engages in exchanges of valued goods, where those exchanges would be costly to break. We find that an index of three such networks–trade, security and shared international organization membership–significantly influences the domestic political institutions in a given state. These changes are substantively large in the long run, similar in size to regional and global levels of democracy. State capabilities figure heavily in our network measures, thus emphasizing the role of power in the diffusion of domestic political institutions. We also find that network-influenced change works both ways: states can become more autocratic or more democratic.
Many theories attempt to explain why some countries democratize and others do not. Existing accounts, however, focus almost exclusively on structural factors and ignore individual leaders. In this article, we argue that leaders educated at Western universities are more likely to democratize than other leaders because Western education socializes leaders to prefer democracy and creates transnational linkages that alter the strategic calculus of democratization. Utilizing an original data set on the specific colleges and universities world leaders attended, we show that Western-educated leaders significantly and substantively improve a country’s democratization prospects.
Gender differences regarding support for the use of force average around 8 percent and are twice the size of differences on non-force issues. This article investigates a related gender gap in support for the use of torture. I investigate threat perceptions as a possible explanation for the gap and find strong support for this hypothesis. Specifically, increased threat perceptions lead men but not women to be more likely to support the use of torture. In addition to providing an explanation for the gender gap in support for torture, this extends prior work that finds increased threat perceptions with respect to terrorism lead to greater support for aggressive policies.
New research has emerged that suggests there is a troubling relationship between elections and civil wars; primarily, elections increase the risk of civil war recurrence. I investigate this relationship further by examining the economic factors associated with the connection between postwar elections and peace failure. Specifically, how does the presence of oil wealth impact the risk posed by postwar elections. Drawing on previous findings in the democratization literature, I suggest the immobility of oil wealth dramatically increases the stakes associated with postwar elections. As postwar elites use irregular electioneering to consolidate their control of oil revenue, it increases the incentives for postwar opposition to use violence as a means to achieve their objectives. Using post-civil war data from 1945 to 2005, I demonstrate that postwar elections that occur in oil-rich economies dramatically decrease the durability of postwar peace. Once controlling for petro elections, though, I demonstrate that subsequent postwar elections actually increase the durability of postwar peace.
In this article, we explore how presidential risk orientations affect force employment decisions through an analysis of the use of unmanned weaponry during the Bush and Obama administrations. We hypothesize that the conception of risk plays an integral part in this choice of weaponry. In order to examine our hypothesis, we utilize the verbs-in-context system of operational code analysis to quantify the risk propensities of President Bush and President Obama during the Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2013. At the aggregate level, we find that the two presidents exhibit unique interpretations of risk with respect to manned versus unmanned weaponry. We further disaggregate our data to examine whether these preferences are fixed or fluctuate with situational changes. We find that President Bush’s risk calculations are influenced by a number of situational variables, highlighting the importance of changing decision contexts in explaining risk behaviors. President Obama’s risk calculations, on the other hand, remain constant over time lending credence to the importance of overall risk propensity in determining risk-taking behaviors. Our findings indicate that risk is an important variable in explaining the means of force employed during conflict, and that the source of this behavior can vary by leader.
How does third-party intervention in civil war influence citizens’ physical quality of life (QOL) after civil war? I find that the effects of intervention on postwar QOL depend on its type, unilateral intervention, and United Nations (UN) intervention. Unilateral interveners seeking self-interest tend to impede the improvement in postwar QOL particularly in terms of life expectancy and infant mortality rate. They are likely to do so through producing their protégé’s military victory or negotiated settlement, expanding their influence on postwar government, and resultingly forming a government less responsive to citizens’ hardship and reducing resources available for welfare. UN intervention on humanitarian grounds tends to promote postwar social development particularly in the fields of public health, although it has no significant effect on literacy rate. It is likely to do so by increasing resources available for postwar reconstruction, even though it goes where postwar social development is relatively difficult.
This article uses a laboratory experiment to explore how groups’ internal rules for leader selection affect how leaders select into and fight conflicts. The findings reveal that, counter to expectations, leaders of democratic groups were more likely than leaders of autocratic groups to select into a conflict rather than accept a negotiated settlement. Conditional on conflict occurring, democratic leaders did not mobilize more resources for war than autocratic leaders. However, democratic leaders were less likely to accept a settlement once a war was underway and they expended more effort in the last round of conflict, suggesting once they entered a war they fought for a decisive victory. Domestically, democratic leaders were punished for losing wars more often than autocratic leaders, while winning wars did not benefit democratic leaders significantly.
While recent scholarship suggests that conscription decreases support for military action, we argue that its effect is contingent both on a draft’s consequences for inequality in military sacrifice and on partisanship. In an experiment examining public support for defending South Korea, we find that reinstating the draft significantly decreases support for war among Democrats; however, this effect is diminished if the draft reduces inequality in sacrifice. Support for war among Republicans, by contrast, responds neither to information about conscription nor its inequality ramifications. A follow-up experiment shows that conscription continues to significantly decrease support for war, even in the context of a retaliatory strike against a foreign state that targeted American forces. Moreover, partisanship and the inequality ramifications of the draft continue to moderate the relationships between conscription and public opinion. More broadly, our study emphasizes the importance of examining how Americans evaluate foreign policy–relevant information through partisan lenses.
Under which circumstances do two democracies involved in a dispute decide to pursue binding conflict management? I argue that the existing literature is incomplete. In order to fully understand why democratic decision makers choose arbitration or adjudication over alternative strategies, it is necessary to consider the social trust levels of the general populations in both states. During arbitration and adjudication, states give up sovereignty in a crucial domain of foreign policy. This loss of control should be less problematic for high-trusting societies than their low-trusting counterparts. If citizens are generally optimistic about the behavior of strangers, they are more likely to place their country’s interests under the control of others. Furthermore, since the general population poses smaller constraints on decision makers in nondemocratic settings, I expect the effect of trust to be strongest in democratic dyads. An empirical analysis with a new data set of social trust provides support for this hypothesis.
Does religion inevitably promote support for militant politics? Using a new and unique data set compiled from a nationally representative survey in Lebanon, we examine the conditions under which communal religious practice may serve to promote support for or opposition to armed parties. We argue that this relationship, far from being unidirectional and consistent, depends on the interests of the individual sectarian group. For groups engaged in conflict, communal prayer may increase support for arming political parties. For noncombatant groups, however, religion tends to promote opposition to such militarization. Using both observational and experimental evidence, we demonstrate that communal religion increases the salience of group interests through both identity and informational mechanisms. For regular worship attenders, communal religious practice increases the salience of sectarian identity. For nonattenders, informational primes about sectarian interests have the same effect. Among noncombatant groups, this increased salience leads to opposition to armed parties whose presence would threaten the livelihoods and security of those on the sidelines.
Recognition is vital for conflict resolution. This study was designed to learn more about the factors underlying the willingness to recognize the pain and suffering of the opponent in the asymmetrical protracted conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Data were collected through a public opinion survey conducted with a representative sample of Israeli-Jewish adults (N = 511). Perceptions of threat/distrust toward Palestinians and dehumanization of Palestinians each made a significant contribution to explaining Jewish-Israeli (un)willingness to recognize Palestinian pain and suffering (R2 = .36). Hawkishness made an added significant contribution to the overall explanatory power of the model (R2 = .38). Higher scores on the threat/distrust scale and the dehumanization scale, as well as higher hawkishness predicted decreased willingness to recognize Palestinian pain and suffering. The implications of our findings for understanding the role of recognition and of moral concern in conflict resolution are discussed.
In some regions of natural resource extraction, embedded local populations receive transfers that compensate them for environmental consequences of extraction; while in others, these populations receive no benefits and endure negative environmental externalities, which can lead to violent protest. This article develops a formal model of the strategic dynamics among a government, a natural resource extraction firm, and a local population in an extractive region to understand the variation in extractive outcomes. The model specifies the conditions under which firms will provide promised transfers to a local population, distributive conflict will occur, and how the government will respond.
Despite the prevalence of nonviolent uprisings in recent history, no existing scholarship has produced a generalized explanation of when and where such uprisings are most likely to occur. Our primary aim in this article is to evaluate whether different available models—namely, grievance approaches, modernization theory, resource mobilization theory, and political opportunity approaches—are useful in explaining the onset of major nonviolent uprisings. We assemble a reduced list of correlates based on each model and use each model’s out-of-sample area under the curve and logarithmic score to test each theory’s explanatory power. We find that the political opportunity model performs best for both in- and out-of-sample cases, though grievance and resource mobilization approaches also provide some explanatory power. We use a culled model of the predicted probabilities of the strongest-performing variables from all models to forecast major nonviolent uprisings in 2011 and 2012. In this out-of-sample test, all models produce mixed results, suggesting greater emphasis on agency over structure in explaining these episodes.
This study examines the effect of foreign military interventions on the incidence of suicide attacks. It presents three theoretical explanations. Foreign military interventions may boost insurgent use of suicide attacks by (a) fomenting a nationalist backlash that sanctions the use of more extreme and unconventional tactics like suicide attacks, (b) providing more and better targets against which suicide attacks can be launched, or (c) prompting insurgents to use suicide tactics in order to overcome their power asymmetries and to confront better defended targets that are enhanced by interventions. We test these competing explanations using a battery of statistical tests on cross-national, time-series data for 138 countries during the period from 1981 to 2005. We find that only foreign interventions with specific features—pro-government interventions involving larger numbers of ground troops—boost suicide attacks in countries experiencing interventions. This finding suggests that by tipping the balance of power against insurgents and hardening targets in the context of assisting a local government, foreign military interventions are likely to increase the use of suicide attacks by regime challengers.
Both threats and assurances can be useful in international negotiations. Threats help convince the adversary that a state will fight if challenged, and assurances can convince the adversary that a state will not attack if not challenged. We develop a model that analyzes when threats and assurances are used. Threats are widely useful because there is typically a range of outcomes that are preferable to war for each side, and threats can secure a better deal within that range by strengthening a state’s bottom line. In contrast, assurances are only necessary when war would result without them because of insufficiently valued intermediate outcomes or shifting power. We discuss insights from the model, including the role of false assurances, in the context of both the Sudetenland crisis and Cold War Europe.
Once a set of civil war actors reach a final peace agreement, a number of different implementation sequences are possible as the negotiated provisions are put into practice. We focus on a key but threatening stepping stone in the post-accord period—the holding of the first post-accord election—which has the capacity to be a stabilizing or destabilizing force. We identify effective accommodation provisions that civil war actors can negotiate and implement before the first post-accord election to reduce the chances of renewed violence. Utilizing new longitudinal data on the implementation of comprehensive peace agreements between 1989 and 2012 and a series of survival models, we find that if the first post-accord election is preceded by the implementation of accommodation measures, elections can have a peace-promoting effect. However, in the absence of preelection accommodation measures, elections are much more likely to be followed by peace failure.
Turkey has been suffering from separatist terrorism and the political conflict it implies since the mid-1980s, both of which are believed to have a negative impact on economic welfare. This article investigates the economic costs of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorism, particularly in the Eastern and Southeastern provinces of Turkey by invoking the synthetic control method. We create a synthetic control group that mimics the socioeconomic characteristics of the provinces exposed to terrorism before the PKK terrorism emerged in the mid-1980s. We then compare the real gross domestic product (GDP) of the synthetic provinces without terrorism to the actual provinces with terrorism for the period 1975 to 2001. Causal inference is carried out by comparing the real per capita GDP gap between the synthetic and actual provinces against the intensity of PKK terrorist activity. Extended over a period of fourteen years (1988 to 2001), we find that after the emergence of terrorism, the per capita real GDP in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia declined by about 6.6 percent relative to a comparable synthetic Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia without terrorism.
The scientific study of war has largely ignored necessary conditions for war onset. Conflict scholars have previously identified alliances as a mechanism that brings about the initial expansion of war but have not examined whether it is a prerequisite for large wars. We argue that wars diffuse into multiparty wars only in the presence of alliances. In other words, in the absence of any alliance ties, war would not include more than two parties. We put forth a theoretical rationale for this relationship and conduct a series of tests on both dyadic and multiparty wars between 1816 and 2007. These tests provide support for our hypothesis, suggesting that alliances are a virtual necessary condition for multiparty wars: the larger the war, the more likely alliances are a necessary condition.
Does ongoing exposure to political violence prompt subject groups to support or oppose compromise in situations of intractable conflict? If so, what is the mechanism underlying these processes? Political scholarship neither offers conclusive arguments nor sufficiently addresses individual-level forms of exposure to violence in the context of political conflict, particularly the factors mediating political outcomes. We address this by looking at the impact of exposure to political violence, psychological distress, perceived threat, and ethos of conflict on support for political compromise. A mediated model is hypothesized whereby exposure to political violence provokes support for the ethos of conflict and hinders support for compromise through perceived psychological distress and perceived national threat. We examined representative samples of two parties to the same conflict: Israelis (N = 781) and Palestinians from Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank (N = 1,196). The study’s main conclusion is that ethos of conflict serves as a mediating variable in the relationship between exposure to violence and attitudes toward peaceful settlement of the conflict.
There is a tremendous amount of variation in conflict intensity both across and within civil conflicts. Some conflicts result in huge numbers of battle deaths, while others do not. Conflict intensity is also dynamic. Conflict intensity escalates, de-escalates, and persists. What explains this variation? We take one of the most prominent explanations for the onset and occurrence of civil conflict—variation in economic conditions—and apply it to the intensity and dynamics of civil conflict. Using an instrumental variables strategy and a rich set of empirical models, we find that the intensity of conflict is negatively related to per capita income. We also find that economic conditions affect conflict dynamics, as poorer countries are likely to experience longer and more intense spells of fighting after the onset of conflict.
Why do members of some ethnic groups rebel against the state? One approach holds that groups subject to exclusion from national politics engage in armed conflict. We theorize that the presence of resource wealth moderates the effect of political exclusion. Ethnic groups subject to exclusion whose settlement area includes oil wealth are more likely to experience the onset of armed conflict than groups experiencing exclusion alone. We depart from the convention of cross-national analysis to examine subnational, geocoded units of analysis—ethnic group settlement areas—to better capture the impact of natural resource distribution. Using data on ethnic group political exclusion derived from the Ethnic Power Relations database and geo-coded indicators, we conduct a series of logistic regression analyses for the years 1946 to 2005. We find that exclusion alone increase the likelihood of conflict, while the presence of oil wealth further raises the risk of war.
This article considers how international criminal justice administered by the International Criminal Court (ICC) affects the possibility of negotiated, peaceful transitions of power in autocracies. We argue that a strong international criminal tribunal can deter dictators’ decisions to peacefully relinquish their power. It does so when the dictator in question has faced a relatively violent opposition, one that was ready to strike a deal with the dictator promising him amnesty in exchange for stepping down. Facing an opposition that "has skeletons in its closet," the dictator will peacefully exit his office only under a weak ICC regime. We use a cross-national time-series data set spanning 1998 to 2007 to test our theory and find that under a weak ICC regime, the more skeletons the opposition has in its own closet, the more likely is the dictator to peacefully step down from office. Interestingly, this relationship holds, to a large extent, across various levels of dictator’s culpability. If the ICC is strong, the number of skeletons the opposition has in its closet has, for the most part, no effect on the dictator’s likelihood of stepping down.
Coups remain a widespread and consequential political phenomenon, but it remains unclear whether interstate conflict protects leaders from the risk of coups or increases this risk. We theorize that interstate conflict—especially when it is prolonged—should protect domestic regimes from military overthrow by foreclosing many of the key pathways by which elites plot and execute coups. We test this argument using event history modeling. The evidence provides support for our claim that coup risk declines in the presence of enduring interstate conflict. Just as important, we detect no evidence that war increases coup risk.
This article proposes a theory of coups that centers around coordination and learning. The military is modeled as many officers who only want to join a coup if others join as well (i.e., coordination). If the current regime has survived past coup attempts, it is common knowledge that it is relatively strong (i.e., learning). Combining these effects, once the regime survives the first period, officers know that the regime is strong enough that they may refrain from staging a coup—regardless of how dissatisfied they may become with the status quo—under the mutually enforcing expectation that no other officer will rebel. The model has other equilibria where coup attempts can occur after the first period, allowing for more detailed empirical predictions. The analysis highlights several reasons why new regimes are prone to coups, but among regimes surviving the initial turmoil, structural factors that would seem to predict coup attempts can have an ambiguous effect. The model also makes novel predictions about how the "initial conditions" of a regime as well as what kinds of changes to payoffs affect the likelihood of coups.
This article examines the decisions of governments to enter reservations upon ratification of international human rights treaties. I argue that, in the context of the human rights regime, reservations are simply attempts to avoid international legal obligations where they would be consequential. I develop an explanation for their use that focuses on the following two factors: the legal constraints that already exist in domestic law and the likelihood that international agreements will be enforced by domestic courts. Using an original measure of domestic legal protection of civil, political, and personal integrity rights, I find evidence that governments are more likely to enter reservations when domestic legal standards are lax compared to those in the treaty and when judiciaries are likely to enforce treaty-based obligations. This suggests that full adoption of international human rights treaties is more likely when treaties will not create genuine domestic legal constraints and that explanations for treaty adoption and implementation must take reservations into account. It also suggests that adoption of international human rights law is best explained by the specific legal institutions that relate to domestic enforcement rather than broad distinctions between democratic/autocratic political institutions.
The goal of the current research was to examine how discrete positive intergroup emotional phenomena affect conflict-related attitudes in different contexts of intractable conflict. We hypothesized that empathy, but not hope would be negatively associated with aggressive attitudes during escalation, while hope, but not empathy would be associated with conciliatory attitudes during de-escalation. In study 1, we examined our hypotheses within a correlational design in an emotion-inducing context, while in study 2 a two-wave survey was conducted during real-life events within the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; a peace summit as well as a war. Both studies supported our hypotheses, thus indicating the unique, yet complimentary, contribution of each of the two emotional phenomena to the advancement of peace.
This study compared the effects of three interventions and a no-intervention control on the settlement of resource and value conflicts. These variables were arranged in a two (conflict issue: resources vs. values) by four (no intervention vs. other affirmation vs. shared identity vs. transaction costs) between-dyads design in which 127 dyads engaged in a negotiation task. Negotiators reached generally lower joint outcomes in the value conflict compared to the resource conflict, but after the other-affirmation intervention, this pattern was reversed. The shared-identity intervention did not result in higher joint outcomes for value conflicts. Stressing positive concern for the other negotiator may be a more effective strategy than stressing commonalities between the parties: increased concern for self and decreased defense of own opinions may account for this result. Forcing and logrolling behavior are shown to be mediating variables between the type of conflict and outcomes.
An interesting stream of the civil conflict literature has identified an important subset of civil conflicts with disastrous consequences, that is, those that emerge as a consequence of shocks to renewable natural resources like land and water. This literature is, however, reliant on qualitative case studies when claiming a causal relationship leading from renewable resource shocks to conflict. In this article, we seek to advance the literature by drawing out the implications of a well-known formal model of the renewable resources–conflict relationship and then conducting rigorous statistical tests of its implications in the case of a serious ongoing civil conflict in India. We find that a one standard deviation decrease in our measure of renewable resources increases killings by nearly 60 percent over the long run.
This study examines attempts by authorities to undermine overt collective challenges, such as protests, riots, or armed attacks, by targeting activities that precede and/or support such behavior. After providing a theory of how repression and resistance develop, the study analyzes unique data drawn from the confidential records of the Guatemalan National Police to assess the use of repression during the years between 1975 and 1985. Empirical tests demonstrate that (1) government forces anticipate challenger development by identifying the mobilization activities nascent challengers rely on to initiate and sustain overt collective challenges and (2) the use of repression designed to undermine such efforts is specifically targeted against radical (i.e., highly transformative) claims making. Implications are drawn for how we understand and study political order and conflict.
We explore economic incentives for third parties to intervene in ongoing internal wars. We develop a three-party model of the decision to intervene in conflict that highlights the role of the economic benefits accruing from the intervention and the potential costs. We present novel empirical results on the role of oil in motivating third-party military intervention. We find that the likelihood of a third-party intervention increases when (a) the country at war has large reserves of oil, (b) the relative competition in the sector is limited, and (c) the potential intervener has a higher demand for oil.
In anarchic settings, potential rivals can be dragged into arms races degenerating in open wars out of mutual suspicion. We propose a novel commitment device for contestants to avoid both arming and fighting. We assume that the military decides the armament levels of a country, while the civilian decides whether to attack a rival country. When these decision-making bodies perfectly communicate, the decision makers are unable to credibly communicate to their foe their willingness not to arm and not to attack, thus implying that war ensues. With imperfect information, however, peace may ensue as countries credibly signal to their rival a more peaceful stance since contestants are more reluctant to enter in an armed confrontation with a potentially understaffed army. Using data on the 1975 to 2001 period, we provide supportive evidence that in countries where the head of the state or the defense minister are military officers, and are therefore better informed of their armies’ fighting preparedness, the likelihood of observing an international conflict is higher.
Across one longitudinal and two cross-sectional surveys in Northern Ireland, we tested a model of intergroup relations in which out-group attitudes and behavioral tendencies are predicted by cross-group friendship and positive intergroup appraisals, mediated by intergroup emotions and out-group trust. In study 1, out-group friendship at time 1 predicted out-group trust at time 2 (one year later), controlling for prior out-group trust. In study 2, positive and negative intergroup emotions mediated the effects of friendship on positive and negative behavioral tendencies and attitudes. In study 3, a confirmatory factor analysis indicated that trust and emotions are distinct constructs with unique predictive contributions. We then tested a model in which cross-group friendship predicted intergroup emotions and trust through intimate self-disclosure in out-group friendships. Our findings support an integration of an intergroup emotions framework with research highlighting the importance of cross-group friendship in fostering positive intergroup outcomes.
How does accountability impact political decisions? Though previous research on accountability has demonstrated its potential effects in the realms of business, elections, and more, very little research has explored the effect of citizen accountability in highly ideological, intractable, and political conflicts. This article addresses this issue, looking at the unique interaction between accountability and ideology on Israeli citizens’ political attitudes regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The results of two experimental studies in Israel reveal that accountable individuals behave in significantly more ideologically partisan ways than their nonaccountable counterparts. Moreover, this polarization is dependent on the specific conflict context, with leftists more affected by the issue of negotiations and rightists by security concerns. This signals that ideological polarization under accountability may depend on the "issue ownership" each ideological group feels toward the specific conflict context and its corresponding social goal of projecting ideological consistency on these issues.
It is widely believed that China’s growing links to the global economy are translating into increased Chinese political influence abroad. This article explores this possibility quantitatively by examining whether increased trade with China correlates with an increased willingness by countries to accommodate Chinese interests. I use newly collected data that capture cross-national variation in the willingness of individual countries to support Chinese government positions relating to Taiwan and Tibet, and China’s status as a market economy. I find that increased trade dependence on China is correlated with an increased likelihood of taking an accommodating stance on the economic issue (market economy status). But the evidence linking trade to an accommodating stance on the political issues is more ambiguous.
Many critical questions involving the causes and consequences of formal military alliances are related to differences between various alliances in terms of the scope of the formal obligations, the depth of the commitment between signatories, and the potential military capacity of the alliance. Studying the causes and consequences of such variation is difficult because while we possess many indicators of various features of an alliance agreement that are thought to be related to the broader theoretical concepts of interest, it is unclear how to use the multitude of observable measures to characterize these broader underlying concepts. We show how a Bayesian measurement model can be used to provide parsimonious estimates of the scope, depth, and potential military capacity of formal military alliances signed between 1816 and 2000. We use the resulting estimates to explore some core intuitions that were previously difficult to verify regarding the formation of the formal alliance agreement, and we check the validity of the measures against known cases in alliances as well as by exploring common expectations regarding historical alliances.
Democracy, human rights, and terrorism are major foreign policy issues. However, among these issues, what do the US leaders care about the most? This study assesses the degree to which Washington responds militarily to threats to democratic institutions, human rights abuses, and terrorist activity in other countries. Based on a cross-national, time-series data analysis of 164 countries for the years 1981 to 2005, this study presents empirical models that evaluate the relative importance of these issues for contemporary American foreign and security policy. It turns out that, all other things being equal, the United States is likely to engage in military campaigns for humanitarian reasons that focus on human rights protection rather than for its own security interests such as democracy promotion or terrorism reduction. This finding is extremely robust and reinforced by case illustrations that support a causal explanation for US intervention with a basic and sustained place for human rights protection.
Preferences are crucial to the analysis of many key questions regarding international institutions. This article analyzes the key predictors of states’ preferences over universal treaties. It does so by using a spatial-modeling approach that conceptualizes a treaty commitment preference space that includes agreements across multiple policy areas. I analyze the treaty commitment preference space in order to better understand the key dimensions of these preferences. I find that economics, and particularly trade, is the clearest and most consistent predictor of treaty commitment preferences, including with respect to many treaties in noneconomic policy areas.
We study experimentally how enforcement influences public goods provision when subjects face two free-rider options that roughly parallel the nonparticipation and noncompliance options available for countries in relation to multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Our results add to the MEA literature in two ways. First, they suggest that compliance enforcement will fail to enhance compliance in the absence of participation enforcement. Second, they indicate that compliance enforcement will boost compliance significantly in the presence of participation enforcement. Our results also add to the experimental literature on public goods provision, again in two ways. First, they reveal that previous experimental findings of enforcement boosting cooperation are valid only in settings with forced (or enforced) participation. Second, they show that subjects’ willingness to allocate costly punishment points is significantly stronger when the enforcement system permits punishment of both types of free riding than when it permits punishment of only one type.
In canonical accounts of war, conflict outcomes are inherently uncertain. Contesting literatures posit that this uncertainty, arising from stochastic elements of the war-fighting process, may induce conflict due to greater risks of miscalculation or foster peace by breeding caution. We theorize that states, on average, exhibit prudence when confronting greater uncertainty. Despite its conceptual importance, extant proxies for uncertainty at various levels of analysis—such as polarity, balance of power, system concentration, and dyadic relative capabilities—are imprecise and theoretically inappropriate indicators. To overcome this shortcoming, we theorize the conditions that elevate the magnitude of uncertainty over conflict outcomes and introduce a novel measure that captures this uncertainty within any k-state system. Through extensive empirical analysis, we confirm uncertainty’s pacifying effect and show how this effect operates at different levels of analysis.
This study asserts that countries with large internally displaced populations (IDPs) are more likely to experience a higher rate of suicide terrorism. After demonstrating this, the study tests four intervening factors hypothesized to drive the relationship between IDPs and suicide attacks: IDPs are expected (1) to increase the pool of potential suicide recruits, thereby lowering the labor costs for suicide terrorist groups; (2) to increase local ethnic conflicts that foster a favorable environment for suicide terrorism; (3) to worsen the human rights conditions in countries, prompting aggrieved people to support suicide terrorist tactics; and (4) to raise the counterterrorism and policing costs of the state, enabling terrorists to plan and execute suicide attacks. Results from negative binomial regression and Tobit models show evidence for the IDPs-suicide terrorism connection. When recursive models are employed to evaluate the effects of four intervening variables, the results most consistently support human rights violations as a significant and substantive mediator between IDPs and suicide attacks.
Shared water has prompted some neighboring countries to form integrated regional institutions and rules. Other neighboring countries have maintained less cooperative policies in managing shared water. When do governments achieve integrated management of regional water? How do they overcome barriers to integrated cooperation? This article contends that the structure of interdependence, not the number of states bordering the water, encourages different international policies. It analyzes original panel data on the agreement histories of seventy-six rivers, lakes, and seas. It also examines the role of selective incentives in promoting mutual water management. Fundamentally, the number of states with access to the water does not determine the fate of water management. Strategies for overcoming divergent preferences can be applied across situations. The key is to provide selective incentives when states are asymmetrically interdependent in using the water, to alter national preferences. Selective incentives are particularly important when few states share the water.
Alliance formation is a multilateral process. The vast majority of alliance relations are created via multilateral alliances. Moreover, leaders assess the alliance as a whole, not just each prospective partner. Any alliance could have three or more members, so one must understand not just why third parties were included in multilateral alliances, but why they were excluded from bilateral alliances. Unfortunately, current research treats alliance formation as a bilateral process: it theorizes about bilateral alliances and tests hypotheses using dyadic research designs. Reconceptualizing all alliances as originating from a multilateral process reveals that a long-neglected theory, William Riker’s size principle, illuminates the role of power in alliance formation. Using k-adic data to analyze multilateral processes, we find strong support for Riker’s claim about minimum winning coalitions in world politics. Our argument and findings, by highlighting how a fundamental state behavior like alliance formation follows a multilateral process, suggest rethinking much of international relations research.
Interstate war data are critical for many important research areas in international relations. Scholars working in these areas frequently rely on the Correlates of War (COW) interstate war data. This article analyzes the COW interstate war data version 4.0, covering the years 1816 through 2007. Using COW coding criteria, the article finds that in more than 30 percent of the ninety-five COW interstate wars, codings of at least one of the key variables—existence of the war, list of participants, initiator, and outcome—needs to be revised. This article describes a revised data set on interstate wars that incorporates these revisions. The data set includes a metric for breaking apart large, multilateral wars such as the World Wars into component wars. For each participant in multilateral wars, it provides information on exactly which states that participant fought, and specific initiation and outcome codings for that participant.
A large proportion of coup attempts in autocracies occur in the aftermath of elections, yet little systematic research exists on the topic. Drawing on recent literature on elections in autocracies, we present an argument to explain postelection coups. While we recognize that electoral institutions have the potential to stabilize autocracies, we illustrate that the election event can spark instability when incumbents reveal electoral weakness. Electoral outcomes—in the form of vote shares and opposition reactions—are signals containing information about the strength of the opposition, and indirectly about the likelihood of a successful full-scale revolution that would compromise the privileged positions of regime elites. In these situations, coups are likely to be initiated to avoid a revolution, either by serving as concessions to the opposition or by facilitating increased repression. We perform a large-N study that supports our argument, significantly nuancing the claim that elections stabilize autocracies.
An index of ethnic segregation conveys the extent of spatial mixing of ethnic groups, whereas an index of ethnic polarization and similar diversity measures show the overall balance between the groups. We present a game-theoretic model of conflict in which local success of one ethnic group encourages attacks by its co-ethnics in neighboring areas. Conditional on conflict breaking out, we find that for highly ethnically polarized societies, increasing ethnic segregation decreases the incidence and intensity of conflict. In contrast, in societies with low ethnic polarization, increasing segregation increases conflict. This is because segregation and polarization jointly determine the spread of conflict, an important channel that has been neglected previously. We find strong empirical support for model predictions in two very different conflicts: Hindu–Muslim riots in the 1980s and 1990s in India and the Bosnian Civil War from 1992 to 1995.
Geographic factors such as rugged terrain and distance from capital cities are widely believed to prolong civil wars by enabling rebel groups to resist total defeat. This article argues that prevalence of malaria can similarly serve to asymmetrically enhance rebels’ defensive capabilities and thus prolong civil war. Malaria prevalence does so in three complementary ways. First, while malaria can inflict costs on both government and rebel troops, these costs are magnified for larger and denser human groups; thereby ensuring that the costs of malaria will often be higher among government troop deployments. Second, because government soldiers are rotated in and out of conflict zones whereas insurgents typically are not, the former are likely to have a higher nonimmune exposure rate than the latter, which further ensures that government forces will be more susceptible to contracting and spreading malaria. Third, malaria can also indirectly prolong civil war by helping to maintain a socio-geographic environment that is conducive to insurgency. These three complementary factors advantage rebel forces’ abilities to resist defeat by government forces and prolong civil conflicts. I empirically test these arguments by examining the duration of civil wars and find strong support for a prolonging effect of malaria on civil conflict.
The proliferation of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and the wave of democratization are among the most significant developments in international relations during the past three decades. The correlation between these is well noted. The causal link between these phenomena, however, remains unclear. On one hand, democracies have been found to be more likely to join PTAs. On the other hand, trade agreements should foster democratization because they undermine the ability of governments to distribute rents to maintain an autocratic regime. If PTAs and democracy coevolve through a selection and a contagion effect, then conventional statistical techniques can produce wholly misleading results. This article presents a new approach based on recent advancements in longitudinal network analysis. Our findings confirm that historically, democratization indeed made states more likely to sign PTAs, but that trade agreements also encourage the democratization of a country, in particular if the PTA partners are themselves democracies.
Recent studies have identified correlational associations linking terrorism and females’ standing in the labor market. Theories have been proposed to explain these associations. Some concluded that women’s participation in the labor force could be the driver that moves terrorism; others proposed that terrorism motivates the deviations in the labor force. No study has adequately explored causality and the direction of this association. Using a panel data set of 165 countries and terrorism data from 1980 to 2007, we find that terrorist attacks decrease female labor force participation and increase the gender gap between male and female labor force participation. By exploiting variation across countries and time, we are able to identify and quantify these effects; we are also able to address endogeneity concerns by using two novel instrumental variable approaches. The results are statistically significant and robust across a multitude of model specifications.
This article reinvestigates the relationship between real per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and terrorism. We devise a terrorism Lorenz curve to show that domestic and transnational terrorist attacks are each more concentrated in middle-income countries, thereby suggesting a nonlinear income–terrorism relationship. Moreover, this point of concentration shifted to lower income countries after the rising influence of the religious fundamentalist and nationalist/separatist terrorists in the early 1990s. For transnational terrorist attacks, this shift characterized not only the attack venue but also the perpetrators’ nationality. The article then uses nonlinear smooth transition regressions to establish the relationship between real per capita GDP and terrorism for eight alternative terrorism samples, accounting for venue, perpetrators’ nationality, terrorism type, and the period. Our nonlinear estimates are shown to be favored over estimates using linear or quadratic income determinants of terrorism. These nonlinear estimates are robust to additional controls.
Two studies examined the association of particular sentiments and political identities with Jewish-Israeli students’ responses to a generic plan to end the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and to narrower proposals for cooperative undertakings. Three composites—hatred/anger, compassion/empathy (reverse-coded), and guilt/shame (reverse-coded), and also a global composite combining these three sets of sentiments, were generally associated with negative responses to those plans and negative attributions about the wisdom and patriotism of supporters of those plans. Most of the associations between the global sentiments composite and the relevant responses continued to be statistically significant even after controlling for participants’ political identity. The interaction between the relevant sentiments and the putative authorship of one of the proposals was also investigated. Issues of generalizability, replicability, robustness, and of the relevance of mediational analysis, as well as implications for conflict resolution and potential directions for future research are addressed in a concluding discussion.
Using evidence from voting in the UN General Assembly (UNGA), this article shows that leader turnover, especially in small coalition, nondemocratic systems, increases the likelihood of policy realignment. Autocrats who are beholden to only a small proportion of the population represent the foreign policy interests of their small number of supporters. When leader turnover occurs, the interests represented often shift too and this results in an increased volatility and regression toward a neutral position of a nation’s alignment at the United Nations vis-à-vis the United States. While such realignments can offer an opportunity to reduce enmity between states, they can also signal growing differences between friends. The impact of leaders change in large coalitions produces more moderate shifts in alignments.
In a step-level public-good experiment, we investigate how the order of moves (simultaneous vs. sequential) and the number of step levels (one vs. two) affects public-good provision in a two-player game. We find that the sequential order of moves significantly improves public-good provision and payoffs, even though second movers often punish first movers who give less than half of the threshold contribution. The additional second step level—which is not feasible in standard Nash equilibrium—leads to higher contributions but does not improve public-good provision and lowers payoffs. We calibrate the parameters of Fehr and Schmidt’s model of inequality aversion to make quantitative predictions. We find that actual behavior fits remarkably well with several predictions in a quantitative sense.
Casualty counts are often controversial, and thorough research can only go so far in resolving such debates—there will almost always be missing data, and thus, a need to draw inferences about how comprehensively violence has been recorded. This article addresses that challenge by developing an estimation strategy based on the observation that violent events are generally distributed according to power laws, a pattern that structures expectations about what event data on armed conflict would look like if those data were complete. This technique is applied to estimate the number of Native American and US casualties in the American Indian Wars between 1776 and 1890, demonstrating how scholars can use power laws to estimate conflict size, even (and perhaps especially) where previous literature has been unable to do so.
Empirical researchers of civil war rarely collect data on violence themselves and instead rely on other sources of information. One frequently used source is media reports, which serve as the basis for many ongoing data projects in the discipline. However, news reports rarely cover a conflict comprehensively and objectively and may therefore be prone to various reporting issues. This article provides an analysis of the accuracy of information given in news reports. In particular, if focuses on two types of "hard facts" that event data sets require: the location of an event and its severity. By linking media reports to firsthand accounts from a military database, the article does two things: (1) it analyzes the determinants of inaccuracy and confirms the expectation that events with a low number of observers tend to have higher reporting inaccuracies and (2) it assesses the magnitude of these inaccuracies and the implications for conducting empirical analyses with media-based event data.
This paper presents an analysis of the Provisional Irish Republican Army's (PIRA) brigade level behavior during the Northern Ireland Conflict (1970-1998) and identifies the organizational factors that impact a brigade's lethality as measured via terrorist attacks. Key independent variables include levels of technical expertise, cadre age, counter-terrorism policies experienced, brigade size, and IED components and delivery methods. We find that technical expertise within a brigade allows for careful IED usage, which significantly minimizes civilian casualties (a specific strategic goal of PIRA) while increasing the ability to kill more high value targets with IEDs. Lethal counter-terrorism events also significantly affect a brigade's likelihood of killing both civilians and high-value targets but in different ways. Killing PIRA members significantly decreases IED fatalities but also significantly decreases the possibility of zero civilian IED-related deaths in a given year. Killing innocent Catholics in a Brigade's county significantly increases total and civilian IED fatalities. Together the results suggest the necessity to analyze dynamic situational variables that impact terrorist group behavior at the sub-unit level.
Despite significant advances in the disaggregation of the study of civil conflict and intra-ethnic violence, intra-ethnic violence remains understudied. In this article, we present the first systematic, cross-national analysis of the conditions that promote violent, fragmentary conflict within politically active ethnic minorities. We propose a model of intra-ethnic conflict in which collective violence is produced by the interaction between subgroup entrepreneurs and the suppressive actions of the state. This two-level model predicts a curvilinear relationship between the relative size of an ethnic minority and its probability of experiencing large-scale intra-ethnic conflict. Additional hypotheses based on the proposed causal mechanism are also posited. These hypotheses are tested with data drawn from a global sample of politically active ethnic minorities, for the period 1990 through 2006, using a combination of parametric and semi-parametric regression techniques. The results strongly confirm the predicted curvilinear relationship while also demonstrating that the specific shape of this relationship shifts in predictable ways under varying social and political contexts.
Most contemporary civil wars are now recurrences of earlier civil wars. In contrast to classic theories of grievance and opportunity, this article advances a theory of civil war recurrence that highlights the critical role political and legal institutions play in constraining elites in post–civil war states. Such constraints serve as a check on executive power, help incumbent elites credibly commit to political reform, and create a situation where rebels need not maintain militias as a supplementary mechanism to hold political elites in line. All of this reduces the odds of repeat civil war. Using a statistical analysis of post-conflict years, this article demonstrates that strong political institutions are not only significantly and negatively related to repeat civil war but are the primary determinants of whether countries get caught in the conflict trap.
A developed-world consensus ties state failure to new and serious international insecurity. But that conclusion rests upon an uncertain foundation; insights into the nature and intensity of failure-related threats remain tentative and unsystematic. This study begins to remedy the problem, examining the broad relationships between weakness, failure, and terrorism with panel data for 153 countries (1999–2008). I argue that the quantitative literature too often disregards the political context determining terrorism's use, that terrorism is endogenous to many measures of state failure, and that estimates of the failure-related threat of terrorism are overstated. Consistent with these expectations, I find that most failing and failed states are not predisposed to terrorism. However, among the "most failed" states, those at war or experiencing political collapse are significantly more likely to experience and produce terror. These results refine the relationship between failure and external threat and highlight the importance of terrorism's macro-level political context.
This study introduces a theoretical model of how insurgency develops as a function of reactive mobilization. The theory extends a classic distance-decay model by incorporating Kalyvas’ typology of violence. It implies that geographic conditions crucially determine the accuracy of applied violence and thereby its public perception, which in turn determines the actors’ ability to mobilize. As a first test of these effects, I propose a new geographic indicator that expresses the spatial accessibility of a country’s population for both central governments and peripheral insurgent movements. Two empirical implications of the theory are tested with a large-N data set on outcomes and casualties in insurgencies. The new indicator is significantly associated with both military outcomes and the number of casualties in insurgencies since 1970 and strengthens statistical predictions.
This contribution investigates the role of education in domestic terrorism for 133 countries between 1984 and 2007. The findings point to a nontrivial effect of education on terrorism. Lower education tends to promote terrorism in a cluster of countries where socioeconomic, political, and demographic conditions are unfavorable, while higher education reduces terrorism in a cluster of countries where conditions are more favorable. This suggests that country-specific circumstances moderate the effect of education on terrorism. The results of this study imply that promoting education needs to be accompanied by sound structural change to positively affect (individual and society-wide) development and consequently reduce terrorism.
Many conflict studies regard formal democratic institutions as states’ most important vehicle to reduce deprivation-motivated armed conflict against their governments. We argue that the wider concept of good governance—the extent to which policy making and implementation benefit the population at large—is better suited to analyze deprivation-based conflict. The article shows that the risk of conflict in countries characterized by good governance drops rapidly after a conflict has ended or after independence. In countries with poor governance, this process takes much longer. Hence, improving governance is important to reduce the incidence of conflict. We also decompose the effect of good governance into what can be explained by formal democratic institutions and less formal aspects of governance, and into what comes from economic development and what is due to how well countries are governed. We find that informal aspects of good governance to be at least as important as formal institutions in preventing conflict and that good governance has a clear effect over and beyond economic development.
The usual purpose of negotiations is to explore options and reach an agreement, if possible. We investigated a notable exception to this generalization, where a party negotiates without any intention of reaching an agreement. False negotiation occurs when a party gains more by stalling the negotiations until an external change takes place that improves its position considerably. While false negotiators aim to avoid agreement within the current frame of the negotiations, they also aim to keep the negotiation process alive, since walking away from the negotiation table could endanger their position. We report the results of a study that compared the actions of false and sincere negotiators. The false negotiators used competitive tactics that encumbered the negotiations, yet they concealed their intentions by maintaining a facade of cooperation. Our theoretical discussion is focused on the balancing act involved in false negotiations and the challenges it poses for actors in social, managerial, and political settings. We conclude our analysis with an example from the realm of international negotiations.
Who gets what in bargaining between states and international organizations (IOs)? Although distributional conflict is unavoidable in international cooperation, previous research provides few empirical insights into the determinants of bargaining outcomes. We test a simple bargaining model of cooperation between states and IOs. We expect that nonegalitarian international organizations, such as the World Bank, secure more gains from bargaining with economically weak than with economically powerful states. For egalitarian international organizations, such as most United Nations (UN) agencies, the state’s economic power should be less important. We test these hypotheses against a novel data set on funding shares for 2,255 projects implemented under the auspices of the Global Environment Facility, from1991 to 2011. The data allow us to directly measure bargaining outcomes. The results highlight the importance of accounting for the interactive effects of international organization and state characteristics.
Are democracies better at winning wars and militarized disputes? Is there an advantage associated with initiating a war or dispute? Noting that pairwise contest data are the norm in applied research, we motivate a straightforward Bradley–Terry statistical model for these problems from first principles, which will allow for a closer integration of theoretical and statistical practice for scholars of international relations. The essence of this approach is that we learn about the latent abilities of states from observing conflict outcomes between them. We demonstrate the novelty and appeal of this setup with reference to previous attempts to capture estimands of interest and show that for many questions of concern—especially regarding "democratic effectiveness" and "initiation effects"—our approach may be preferred on theoretical and statistical grounds. The evidence we find only partially supports the ideas of "democratic triumphalists": democracy aids effectiveness, but only in certain contexts (while in others it actually impairs fighting ability). We also provide estimates of possible "initiation effects," and show that moving first seems to carry little advantage in interstate wars, but a substantial one in lower-level disputes.
Idealized independent media function as "watchdogs." Indeed, human rights nongovernmental organizations have argued that media freedom will improve human rights. This makes sense intuitively, yet recent formal and empirical studies show that the effect of independent media varies across regime types. We explore the relationship among media, government, and citizen protest movements and employ a game-theoretic model to investigate how the equilibria vary depending on regime type and media independence. In terms of equilibrium, we find that media watchdogging is most active in autocracies (and not in democracies), especially when the government’s perceived capability to repress public protest is declining. Uncertainty about the government’s ability to repress plays a central role in accounting for the manifestation of media watchdogging in conjunction with public protest. Illustrations from Tunisia and North Korea are provided to highlight equilibria derived from the formal model that vary as a product of perceptions about the government’s ability to repress.
This article revisits the oft-cited relationship between economic shocks and coups. According to conventional wisdom, economic recessions trigger coups. However, existing empirical studies have not consistently produced supporting evidence for that relationship. This article claims that this is partly because existing studies have not differentiated transitory from permanent shocks to the economy. Two different economic shocks could have different effects on coups. Moreover, existing studies have not sufficiently addressed measurement error in gross domestic product (GDP) data. To overcome these problems, I use exogenous rainfall and temperature variation to instrument for economic growth. Instrumental estimates demonstrate, consistently across four different GDP per capita growth measures, that a decrease in GDP per capita growth rates, induced by short-run weather shocks, significantly increases the probability of a coup attempt. Conversely, noninstrumental variable estimates vary according to different GDP measures, and are close to zero, consistent with previous findings.
Why do combatants intentionally uproot civilians? The forcible relocation of families and communities to concentration camps, "protected villages," and other special settlements is a regular feature of irregular war, occurring in almost a third of all counterinsurgency campaigns since 1816. Despite the historical regularity of these practices, most research has focused on individual decisions to flee, rather than the brute-force resettlement of civilians by combatants. Using a dynamic model of popular support and new micro-level data from Soviet secret police archives, I show that civilian resettlement is not simply a by-product of war but is a rational response to informational asymmetry. Combatants who cannot identify and selectively punish their opponents face incentives to control the population rather than earn its support. For strong governments with limited coercive leverage, civilian resettlement offers a way to reduce rebel activity without having to win hearts and minds.
International treaty negotiations and domestic politics are interrelated. We show that negotiators can strategically select treaties to mobilize domestic interest groups and support particular candidates for office. Interest groups will support (oppose) political parties that will ratify treaties benefiting (harming) them. By designing treaties that mobilize these "swing" groups, negotiators can affect different parties’ chances of assuming power. Our model produces specific predictions for treaty design, contingent on the preferences of negotiators, parties, and interest groups. With conservative and moderate interest groups, the results may be counterintuitive—for instance, foreign governments pushing liberal treaties on liberal incumbents they dislike, intentionally mobilizing interest groups against the treaty and in favor of conservative challengers. Highly competitive systems, particularly those where moderate interest groups’ support is in play, give treaty negotiators leeway to shape political outcomes. Powerful interest groups may exert strong influence or no influence, depending on the cost of appeasing them and whether domestic and foreign negotiators are willing to gamble the incumbent’s political future for the achievement of their policy ideals.
This study applies fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to the debate on links between resource scarcity and armed conflict. Previous studies on this relationship have reached contradictory results. This study aims to solve this contradiction by arguing that social, economic, and political conditions play an important role in determining whether armed conflict erupts over resource scarcity. I test three theoretic hypotheses, focusing on weak states, economic situations of households, and human ingenuity. I compare fifteen resource scarce cases with conflict to sixteen cases without armed conflict. My analysis supports the hypothesis that the economic situation of households and the levels of human ingenuity matter. In particular, the impact of high dependence on agriculture and low levels of tertiary education on the link between resource scarcity and conflict is discussed. While employing an fsQCA proves a valuable step in accounting for contradictory results, limits of the methods are apparent as well.
A growing literature examines the link between preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and peace among member states. However, despite the potentially competitive nature of these agreements, there has been little research examining whether and how PTAs could induce hostilities between members and nonmembers. In this article, I argue that dyadic conflict is more likely when one dyad member’s exclusive PTA with a third party results in lower exports for the dyad member that is excluded from the agreement. Importantly, I contend that trade creating as well as trade diverting PTAs can have this effect. I use a triadic extension of the gravity model of trade to estimate how an exclusive PTA influences the exports of nonmembers relative to PTA members. Using these estimates in statistical tests of dyadic militarized interstate dispute onset spanning 1961 to 2000, I find that PTA-induced trade distortions are associated with a higher likelihood of conflict between members and nonmembers.
A growing body of applied research on political violence employs split-population models to address problems of zero inflation in conflict event counts and related binary dependent variables. Nevertheless, conflict researchers typically use standard ordered probit models to study discrete ordered dependent variables characterized by excessive zeros (e.g., levels of conflict). This study familiarizes conflict scholars with a recently proposed split-population model—the zero-inflated ordered probit (ZiOP) model—that explicitly addresses the econometric challenges that researchers face when using a "zero-inflated" ordered dependent variable. We show that the ZiOP model provides more than an econometric fix: it provides substantively rich information about the heterogeneous pool of "peace" observations that exist in zero-inflated ordinal variables that measure violent conflict. We demonstrate the usefulness of the model through Monte Carlo experiments and replications of published work and also show that the substantive effects of covariates derived from the ZiOP model can reveal nonmonotonic relationships between these covariates and one’s conflict probabilities of interest.
Modern economies and militaries are fundamentally dependent on oil, but the study of energy security has fallen out of favor in the field of international relations. We develop and test a theory of when and how states invest in energy security. We argue that states implement policies to improve their energy security when they perceive a risk of a militarized dispute and international oil markets are dominated by a small number of Middle Eastern producers. Empirically, we show that industrialized countries with reasons to worry about their security have significantly increased their public investment in energy research and development in response to an increase in the Middle East’s share of the world oil supply.
This article investigates whether attacks against Israeli targets help Palestinian factions gain public support. We link individual-level survey data to the full list of Israeli and Palestinian fatalities during the period of the Second Intifada (2000–2005) and estimate a flexible discrete choice model for faction supported. We find some support for the "outbidding" hypothesis, the notion that Palestinian factions use violence to gain prestige and influence public opinion within the community. In particular, the two leading Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, gain in popularity following successful attacks against Israeli targets. Our results suggest, however, that most movement occurs within either the secular groups or the Islamist groups, but not between them. That is, Fatah’s gains come at the expense of smaller secular factions, while Hamas’s gains come at the expense of smaller Islamic factions and the disaffected. In contrast, attacks by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad lower support for that faction.
This article analyzes the association between civil conflicts and educational achievement by studying the Turkish case. It combines the 2005 university entrance exam scores of more than 1.6 million students and a newly constructed data set on the casualties of the Turkish–Kurdish conflict to study the association between the conflict and educational achievement of Turkish students. The results reveal a significant negative association. Combined with the already well-established positive links between education and various measures of socioeconomic development like economic growth, social equality, and public health, the results in this article demonstrate that education is one of the channels through which civil conflicts damage the well-being of societies thereby creating the conditions that perpetuate them.
Does military intervention affect civilian death tolls? Existing research has focused on international actors’ ability to limit ongoing slaughter but has not examined their ability to prevent the emergence or escalation of such killing. I develop a theory of government killing that accounts not only for the government’s decision to kill civilians but also for the transference of the killing order from leader to perpetrator, and for the perpetrator’s implementation of that order. Focusing on the principal–agent relationship produces new expectations about the effects of military intervention on government killing. I find that international actors are well equipped to limit civilian slaughter: intervention supporting the government decreases the likelihood that a government orders civilians killed. Intervention against the government leads to a decrease in death tolls when killing occurs. Ultimately, supportive intervention is a useful means of preventing government killing, while oppositional intervention limits its escalation once it begins.
Hammond and Axelrod use an evolutionary agent-based model to explore the development of ethnocentrism. They argue that local interactions permit groups, relying on in-group favoritism, to overcome the Nash equilibrium of the prisoner’s dilemma and sustain in-group cooperation. This article shows that higher levels of cooperation evolve when groups are dropped from the model, breaking the link between ethnocentrism and cooperation. This article then generalizes Hammond and Axelrod’s model by parameterizing the underlying geographical assumptions they make about the evolutionary environment. This more general model shows that their findings are sensitive to these assumptions and that small changes to the assumed geography of reproduction significantly affect the probabilities of finding "ethnocentric" behaviors. The model presented here indicates that it is not local interactions, per se, but settings where interactions are highly likely to be with close relatives that lead to "ethnocentrism" as modeled by Hammond and Axelrod.
Important gaps remain in the understanding of the economic consequences of civil war. Focusing on the conflict in Rwanda in the early 1990s, and using micro data, this article finds that households and localities that experienced more intense conflict are lagging behind in terms of consumption six years after the conflict, a finding that is robust to taking into account the endogeneity of violence. Significantly different returns to land and labor are observed between zones that experienced low- and high-intensity conflict which is consistent with the ongoing recovery. Distinguishing between civil war and genocide, the findings also provide evidence that these returns, and by implication the process of recovery, depend on the form of violence.
The proliferation of bilateral and regional trade agreements has arguably been the main change to the international trading system since the end of the Uruguay Round in the mid-1990s. We argue that investment discrimination plays a major role in this development. Preferential trade agreements can lead to investment discrimination because of tariff differentials on intermediary products and as a result of provisions that relax investment rules for the parties to the agreement. Excluded countries are sensitive to the costs that this investment discrimination imposes on domestic firms and react by signing a trade agreement that aims at leveling the playing field. We test our argument using a spatial econometric model and a newly compiled data set that includes 166 countries and covers a period of eighteen years (1990–2007). Our findings strongly support the argument that investment discrimination is a major driver of the proliferation of trade agreements.
We examine the effect of nuclear weapons on interstate conflict. Using more appropriate methodologies than have previously been used, we find that dyads in which both states possess nuclear weapons are not significantly less likely to fight wars, nor are they significantly more or less belligerent at low levels of conflict. This stands in contrast to previous work, which suggests nuclear dyads are some 2.7 million times less likely to fight wars. We additionally find that dyads in which one state possesses nuclear weapons are more prone to low-level conflict (but not more prone to war). This appears to be because nuclear-armed states expand their interests after nuclear acquisition rather than because nuclear weapons provide a shield behind which states can aggress against more powerful conventional-armed states. This calls into question conventional wisdom on the impact of nuclear weapons and has policy implications for the impact of nuclear proliferation.
This article builds a microfounded model of cultural conflict. In this model, intrinsically motivated cultural leaders supply and interpret culture. Leaders have an incentive to amplify disagreement about cultural values. This leads to a clash of perspectives between cultures. The population benefits from the supply of culture but suffers if leaders amplify the clash of perspectives. The article discusses constraints to leader behavior and analyzes how economic factors affect the incentives of cultural leaders. Economic strength can lead to displays of cultural arrogance while economic integration between groups can hinder cultural alienation.
In a recent article in this journal, Chapman presents a formal model of the informational role played by international institutions. Unfortunately, the equilibria given in the article are incorrect. In this article, we identify the errors in the analysis of Chapman and solve for correct equilibria to the model. Our results show little support for the empirical implications derived in the original article. Contrary to these original findings, we find that there may be no relationship between an institution’s policy position and its effect on domestic public opinion or the likelihood that leaders will consult the institution.
How do political parties with different policy-making interests and veto power respond to international terrorism—can coalition parties and bicameral legislatures overcome their policy-making tensions and form a unified front for adopting counterterrorist measures? This study examines German counterterrorist legislation before and after the attacks of 9/11 by using a dictionary-based computerized text analysis. Our findings demonstrate that in times of low threat, the level of intra-coalition and bicameral conflict decreases the likelihood of counterterrorist legislation. However, in the event of a high external threat, this effect disappears despite the continuing divergence in partisan policy preferences. This suggests that a high external threat imposes inaction costs on political parties, which they attempt to avoid by adopting counterterrorist measures in the legislative arena.
Donors often condition foreign aid to recipients on policy adjustments. How do domestic interest groups influence a donor’s ability to credibly commit to implementing threats and promises? In our model, domestic interest groups in the donor country can mobilize to support the donor’s implementation of punishments and rewards. The expectation of such mobilization influences the credibility of threats and promises at the prior contracting stage. The analysis produces three central findings. First, the donor chooses to rely on a single instrument when the domestic interest group exhibits a strong preference for that instrument, even if the cost of using that instrument is relatively high. Second, for credibility reasons the donor often promises generous rewards or threatens ruthless sanctions that seem out of proportion. Finally, the donor cannot simultaneously make credible threats and promises unless domestic interest groups mobilize to support both instruments. We examine the case of US foreign aid to Israel and Palestine to illustrate these theoretical propositions.
Since 1990, governments around the developing world have broken contracts made with multinational corporations (MNCs), but the incidence of breach varies across countries and over time. I argue that shared firm nationality is a key determinant of contract sanctity. MNCs are likely to divert investments or exit in response to breach with a firm of the same nationality but unlikely to react in ways costly to the host government otherwise. At the level of the economy as a whole, host governments gain permissive space to trade-off among national groups of investors when a greater diversity of foreign direct investment nationalities is present. I use national-, firm-, and dyadic-level data from 1990 to 2008 to demonstrate nationality-tied firm responses to breach. Counterintuitively, deeper integration with more nationally diverse MNCs enables more breach, as governments gain space to prioritize other goals over the property and preferences of foreign capital.
In "Information and Institutions Revisited," Fey et al. point out some corrections to the equilibrium analyzed in Chapman. In this brief response, we argue that while these corrections are appropriate, they do not address the larger substantive question of when conditions exist that would facilitate information transmission between an international security organization and a domestic audience. We show an equilibrium in which the core logic of the information transmission argument in Chapman remains. We also discuss the particular modeling choices that facilitate information transmission (or prevent it) in equilibrium.
Civil conflicts constitute one of the most significant threats to human security. Understanding when belligerents are willing to undertake conflict management efforts is an important first step in better understanding how civil conflicts can be dealt with by the international community. In this article, I examine the occurrence of mediation in low-intensity conflicts. Drawing on insights from the war termination literature, I develop a theoretical argument that links mediation in low-intensity conflicts to the evolution of fighting. I argue that, while the characteristics of a conflict and its belligerents influence when mediation happens, how events unfold on the battlefield also influences the occurrence of mediation. I test this argument by looking at low-intensity conflicts in Africa from 1997 to 2004 using data on mediation in low-intensity conflicts and battle-level civil conflict events. The analysis highlights the important effect of battlefield outcomes and locations upon the occurrence of mediation in low-intensity conflicts.
Bailouts sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are famous for their conditionality: in return for continued installments of desperately needed loans, governments must comply with austere policy changes. Many have suggested, however, that politically important countries face rather weak stringency. Obstacles to testing this hypothesis include finding a measure of political importance that is not plagued by endogeneity and obtaining data on IMF conditionality. We propose to measure political importance using temporary membership on the UN Security Council and analyze a newly available data set on the level of conditionality attached to (a maximum of) 314 IMF arrangements with 101 countries over the 1992–2008 period. We find a negative relationship: Security Council members receive about 30 percent fewer conditions. This suggests that the major shareholders of the IMF trade softer conditionality in return for political influence over the Security Council.
This article examines the destabilizing impact of rapid-onset, climate-related disasters. It uses a sample of storms and floods in conjunction with two intensity measures of civil unrest to examine two perspectives on human reactions to disasters (conflictual, cooperative). It also uses insights from the contentious politics literature to understand how emotions posited by the conflictual perspective are transformed into destabilizing acts. While the data show that mean levels of unrest are higher in the wake of disasters, the means poorly reflect the data: the vast majority of episodes do not show higher levels of unrest. Moreover, even when higher levels of unrest emerge, they are not a simple reflection of disaster's human impact; this underscores the importance of the transformational process. Thus, a preliminary model of political violence is investigated; it employs impact, process and institutional variables and it explains three-quarters of the variance in the intensity of violence.
During protracted intractable conflicts, society members develop a sociopsychological infrastructure that leads to selective and biased information processing, obstructing the penetration of new information that may facilitate peacemaking. To validate a process model that depicts the functioning of these barriers, we conducted a study among 207 Israeli Jews, focusing on the effects of long-term barriers on information processing. After measuring these barriers, we introduced an invented peace proposal and gave participants the option of processing additional information concerning its implications using the Decision Board Platform. Aided by this platform, we conducted an in-depth analysis of information acquisition strategies and found that four general worldviews (i.e., traditional and universal values, incremental theory, and authoritarianism) were associated with the ethos of conflict, which in turn was associated with the general amount and type of information processed. The theoretical and applied implications are discussed.
Is there a relationship between leadership change and the probability of conflict termination in civil war? This article uses an original data set on the leaders of rebel groups combined with existing data on state leaders to determine whether leadership change in states or rebel groups affects the probability that a civil war will end. Three results emerge: (1) when the leader of a rebel group is captured or killed, wars are 398 percent more likely to end, (2) conflicts are less likely to end while rebel groups are being led by their founder, and (3) the leader of a state that presided over the beginning of the conflict is significantly more likely to bring the conflict to an end than a replacement leader. The results are robust to the use of matching techniques and other tests of endogeneity.
The research on the influence of democracy on terrorism renders support for two causal mechanisms. One is that democracy reduces terrorism because it creates an environment in which dissenters can pursue their interests through peaceful means. The other argument states that democracy encourages terrorism due to the intrinsic liberties and freedoms that provide an opportunity for terrorists to easily organize, recruit, and mount operations. This article contributes to this second line of thought by framing support for rebel groups as one of the contexts in which democracy’s influence on terrorism is examined. I identify a theoretical mechanism about how democratic states unknowingly facilitate terrorism by letting terrorists freely stay within their borders, raise funds, smuggle arms, and operate offices. The empirical findings provide support for the hypothesis that democracies are vulnerable and can easily be exploited by terrorists since they have an environment conducive to terrorist activities.
Why do some terrorist organizations, but not others, adopt suicide bombing as a tactic? Dominant accounts focusing on organizational capacity, ideology, and efficacy leave certain elements of the phenomenon unexplained. The authors argue that a key factor that influences whether a terrorist organization does or does not adopt suicide terrorism is cultural resonance. This is the idea that deep and specific cultural logics, which transcend religion and nationalism, enable and constrain the sorts of instrumental behaviors that can be utilized in the pursuit of group goals. The article investigates the role of a well-established cultural orientation of collectivism, which enables the authors to measure culture systematically. Case studies, survey data, and experimental research are used to illustrate that collectivism lowers the cost of adoption by facilitating the recruitment of attackers and reducing societal backlash against self-sacrifice. The authors then test for the relationship between collectivism and suicide-bombing adoption using an event history analysis framework, finding a strong correlation.
We model a community of individuals whose relationships are governed by the rules of the so-called Heider balance theory, but modified to address the impact of tolerating intolerant individuals. To consider tolerance toward a different group, the elements are assigned one of the two flags, A or B, and the elements of each group can be tolerant or intolerant. Two additional parameters, p and q, respectively, characterize the propensity of elements to cooperate and the propensity of tolerants to reject intolerant attitudes. We find that (1) parameter q does not affect the degree of conflict at the micro level, but has an important influence on the degree of conflict in the whole system; (2) segregation into two cliques occurs whenever there exists intolerants in both groups; (3) when intolerants are present in only one of the groups, segregation can be avoided for appropriate combinations of parameters p and q that depend on the fraction of intolerants and the size of the groups; (4) as the size of the system increases, two balanced solutions dominate: segregation into two cliques or the isolation of intolerants; and (5) endemic partially balanced configurations are observed in large systems.
Using experiments, we show that subjects who are asked about their support for war without being told about diplomatic strategies to deal with crises back military operations at levels consistent with people who are told that the alternatives to war are of low quality. In contrast, subjects who are told that diplomacy could work to resolve conflicts express less support for military operations. These results suggest that, in the absence of conflicting evidence, people premise their support for war on the assumption that leaders use force as a last resort. Implications for the study of success as an influence on public attitudes about US military operations are considered.
This article examines how Nepal’s 1996–2006 civil conflict affected women’s decisions to engage in employment. Using three waves of the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, we employ a difference-in-difference approach to identify the impact of war on women’s employment decisions. Results indicate that women’s likelihood of employment increased as a consequence of the conflict, a conclusion that holds for self-employment decisions and is robust to numerous sensitivity tests. The findings support the argument that women’s additional employment—rather than greater dependence on remittances and subsistence work—serves as an important source of resilience during times of crisis.
How does the hawkish or dovish nature of the domestic opposition in one state influence its own, as well as an international opponent’s, negotiating behavior? I show that doves, when negotiating in the presence of a hawkish opposition, have more bargaining leverage in international negotiations. The key is to understand an international opponent’s preference to deal with a dove rather than a hawk in future negotiations. I argue that adversaries have an incentive to concede more in negotiations to doves in order to sustain them in office, because failing to give concessions may lead to their replacement by less conciliatory (more hawkish) governments in the future. For this reason, doves are more likely than hawks to extract critical concessions from adversaries. The empirical results support this argument, which altogether suggests that doves are more successful in international negotiations not because they are more conciliatory, but rather because, for domestic reasons, they have greater bargaining leverage to extract counter-concessions from adversaries.
We explore states’ decisions to escalate disputes over their territorial claims or settle them peacefully. We complement existing arguments by accounting for the fact that states are often simultaneously entangled in multiple territorial claims. We build on previous scholarship in positing that two states involved in a territorial dispute will act based on information they glean from each other’s reputation for dealing with claims with other states and their recent actions involving disputes with other states. Because states know that their actions will impact their adversaries’ calculations, the existence of multiple ongoing territorial claims will act as a deterrent from any type of action to resolve the dispute, whether militarized or peaceful. Our hypotheses therefore consider the impact of the number of states’ other territorial claims as well as the number of their adversaries’ claims. Tests using the Issue Correlates of War data support our arguments.
The goal of the current project is to integrate psychological research on emotion regulation with the study of democratic practices in general and political intolerance in particular. We hypothesized that the use of a well-established emotion regulation strategy, cognitive reappraisal, would be associated with lower levels of group-based negative emotions toward one’s least-liked group and lower levels of political intolerance toward that group. Preliminary data based on nationwide survey conducted among Jews in Israel show that the tendency to reappraise negative emotions during war is associated with more tolerant attitudes. In studies 1 and 2, we experimentally manipulated reappraisal, and this led to reduced levels of political intolerance toward Palestinian Citizens of Israel (study 1) and toward one’s least-liked group (study 2). These effects were transmitted via a decrease in negative emotions in both studies, as well as by an increase in support for general democratic values in Study 2.
We assessed whether intergroup contact at a nation-building intervention in Malaysia improved participants’ perceptions of threat and outgroup evaluations and whether this process was conceptually moderated by group status in a three-group setting. We found evidence of a strong relationship between post-intervention contact and post-intervention outgroup evaluations in all groups and evidence of indirect effects of post-intervention contact on outgroup evaluations by symbolic threat for the minority groups rating the majority group. We found that in the context of institutional inequalities, integrated threat theory may not be sufficiently complex to uncover the processes that underlie the contact–attitude link for majority groups rating minority groups. Further, we found indirect effects of post-intervention contact on outgroup evaluations via realistic threat for interminority group ratings. Thus, we elucidate some of the different mechanisms that underlie the intergroup perceptions of majority and minority group members.
Scholars have long conceptualized public support for war as the product of a cost–benefit calculation in which combat casualties factor significantly. This article argues that, when calculating the human costs of conflict, Americans care about more than just the number of war dead; they also care about the distribution of those casualties across society. Using two original survey experiments, we show that inequalities in sacrifice affect Americans’ casualty sensitivity. We find strong evidence that learning about socioeconomic inequalities in casualties in previous wars decreases Americans’ casualty tolerance toward future military endeavors. These effects are stronger for some mission types, particularly non-humanitarian interventions, than others. The effects are also concentrated among Americans from states that suffered high casualty rates in the Iraq War. Our results suggest that raising public awareness of inequalities in wartime sacrifice could significantly strengthen popular constraints on policy makers contemplating military solutions to future crises.
While it is commonly assumed that the United States uses foreign aid as an instrument to combat global terrorism, it is unclear whether it views terrorist threats to other countries, particularly its allies, with urgency. We show that the relationship between transnational terrorism and foreign aid flows is strongly conditional on whether terrorist activity based in a potential recipient directly threatens the United States. Using data on terrorist attacks and casualties in potential recipient countries, we demonstrate that terrorist activity based within a state’s borders, which targets US interests is a strong determinant of both whether that state receives any aid and also how much aid it receives. In contrast, the presence of terrorism targeted at non-US interests, even if it targets formal allies of the United States, is generally unrelated to US aid allocation. These findings suggest that the United States' use of foreign aid to fight terrorism and political violence is narrowly tailored to assist countries that directly threaten its own security, rather than those of other countries, even its allies.
While case-based narratives from civil wars often stress the ethnic dimension of civilian atrocities, cross-national studies have found limited evidence in support of such contentions. Addressing this debate, we argue that warring actors often use ethnic affiliation to identify groups of suspected enemy supporters when individual wartime affiliations are not known. Since warring actors depend on their civilian constituencies for support, collective targeting of the enemy’s co-ethnics becomes a strategy for weakening the enemy’s capacity. Armed actors are thus more likely to engage in civilian abuse in areas where the enemy’s ethnic constituency resides. To examine this argument, we combine new georeferenced event data on violence against civilians in African conflicts, 1989–2009, with spatial data on the location of the warring actors’ ethnic constituencies. The analysis shows that the number of civilians killed by both governments and rebel groups is higher in areas inhabited by the enemy’s ethnic constituency.
In this article, we assess the impact of counterterrorism measures on trade. Our work brings three value addition to the literature: (1) it develops a simple theory to emphasize the endogeneity between terrorism acts, counterterrorism measures, and trade; (2) it delivers an original strategy to identify empirically the effect of counterterrorism security measures on trade flows (using third country incidents); and (3) it uses a new data set on business visas issued by the United States to test further the hypothesis that terrorism is affecting trade through the security channel. Our results suggest that counterterrorism security measures matter for US imports. The level of the impact is up to three times higher when the acts result in a relatively high number of victims, when the products are sensitive to shipping time, or when they ask for networks and business people mobility in order to be sold.
This study explores the relationships between state violations of different human rights. Though most quantitative studies in international relations treat different types of repressive behaviors as either independent or arising from the same underlying process, significant insights are gained by conceptualizing different human rights violations as separate but dependent processes. We present a theoretical framework for conceptualizing the mechanisms relating human rights practices and produce a novel measurement strategy based on network analysis for exploring these relationships. We illustrate high levels of complementarity between most human rights practices. Substitution effects, in contrast, are occasionally substantial but relatively rare. Finally, using empirically informed Monte Carlo analyses, we present predictions regarding likely sequences of rights violations resulting in extreme violations of different physical integrity rights.
This article attempts to answer the question of why major powers engage in more active foreign policy behaviors than minor powers. It does so by comparing two explanations for the increased conflict propensity of major powers. The first explanation focuses on major powers’ observable capabilities, while the second stresses their different behavior. We incorporate both into an ultimatum model of conflict in which a state’s cost of conflict consists of both observable and behavioral components. Using data from the period from 1870 to 2001, we empirically illustrate the observable and behavioral differences between major and minor powers. We then utilize a decomposition model to assess the relative significance of the two explanations. The results suggest that most of the difference in conflict propensity between major and minor powers can be attributed to observable differences.
This article considers the way in which the likelihood of being observed by others affects a state’s conflict behavior. The analysis examines the effect of potential observation on the probability that a dispute will escalate to violence as well as the duration of war and peace. To analyze escalation, I employ the nonparametric local logit model, which frees estimation from restrictive functional form assumptions. The evidence suggests that outside observation can change states’ behaviors and that observers tend to modify their own actions based on what they learn. These results indicate that the typical assumption that international conflict is unobserved and unaffected by outside actors is empirically untenable.
This note uses a new data set on international territorial disputes and boundary agreements to explore whether and how legal commitments affect state behavior. Do border treaties reduce subsequent conflict simply through their effect on the distribution of the disputed good, or do treaties have legal and political implications such that a given distribution of territory has different effects depending on whether it is de facto or de jure? There are three main results. First, among states that have homeland territory disputes, the adoption of a legally binding border is associated with a significant reduction in the likelihood of future militarized conflict over the territory. Second, this effect is the same regardless of whether the treaty transfers territory or converts a de facto or contested border into a de jure border without changing the status quo distribution. Third, there is no equivalent reduction in conflict when states create explicitly provisional borders that allow them to retain their claims to areas that they do not possess. These findings suggest that border treaties do more than simply specify the distribution of territory and provide for transfers. By requiring states to renounce claims to territories that they do not receive, treaties generate ex ante costs of signing and/or ex post costs for reneging that explain their association with subsequent peace.
What is the strategic role of membership in an intergovernmental group with unanimity requirements if the group negotiates with an external player in a setting with incomplete information? Being in such a group has a strategic effect compared to negotiating as a stand-alone player and reduces the demands of the outside player. Group membership lends additional bargaining power. Negotiating as a group may also cause more inefficiencies due to bargaining failure, and this may harm also the intergovernmental group. We uncover the role of preference alignment and preference independence between members of the coalition group for equilibrium payoffs and welfare effects. In this analysis, we also distinguish between coalition groups with and without side payments. Overall, coalition groups tend to perform well for the members of the coalition group in comparison to fully decentralized negotiations, particularly if the objectives of the members of the coalition group are not always perfectly aligned.
Although popularly perceived as a positive force important for objectives such as economic development and democracy, social capital may also be linked to less desirable outcomes. This article highlights a dark side to social capital by pointing to its role in a particularly pernicious phenomenon: genocidal violence. Drawing on a survey of residents from one community that experienced violence during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, I show that individual participation in the violence was partly determined by the features of residents' social networks. Perpetrators possessed larger networks in general and more connections to other perpetrators in particular. The quality as well as quantity of connections also mattered. Strong ties generally, and kinship and neighborly ties specifically, were strong predictors of participation. In contrast, possession of countervailing ties to nonparticipants did not reduce a resident's likelihood of participation. Drawing on in-depth interviews to explore the possible mechanisms behind these findings, I suggest participants' networks fulfilled functions of information diffusion, social influence, and behavioral regulation. More broadly, the findings suggest the importance of social structure and social interaction for participation in collective violence. Relational data should complement individual attribute data in predicting participation. The findings also suggest, contrary to the neo-Malthusian interpretation, that the role played by Rwanda's extraordinarily high population density in the violence may have been more sociological than ecological in origin. The diffusion, influence, and regulatory effects of social connections are likely to be amplified in communities where individuals live in close spatial proximity to each other.
Considerable evidence suggests that economic interdependence and integration reduce the likelihood of militarized conflict. However, scholars have devoted remarkably scant attention to testing different explanations of the liberal peace. This article offers an empirical test that can help adjudicate the two main arguments on the liberal peace: the opportunity cost and signaling arguments. Under the incomplete information assumption, I derive different observable implications of the competing arguments regarding how target states respond when challenged. By estimating selection models comprising dispute initiation and reciprocation, I find that, as challengers are more dependent on bilateral trade, targets are less likely to reciprocate disputes, which is supportive of the signaling argument. Regarding dispute initiation, increases in foreign direct investment and financial openness are associated with a decrease in the probability of conflict initiation. Last, the pacifying effects of the liberal economic variables are much more pronounced in contiguous and major dyads than in other dyads.
This article addresses the highly variable middle-class attitudes regarding political transitions and suggests that social mobility is a key factor conditioning its behavior. Social mobility creates a trade-off for the middle class between autocracy, which yields lower redistribution today, and democracy, which guarantees higher redistribution tomorrow. The way this trade-off is resolved impacts middle-class attitudes toward democratic transitions. Even when the middle class prefers lower redistribution levels under autocracy today, the middle class may prefer democracy today to guarantee higher levels of redistribution in the future, if it feels vulnerable about its future prospects.
With access to inexpensive credit, states can finance wars without overburdening their constituents, and face relatively small short-term costs compared to states with poor credit access. As a result of these economic benefits, states with lower credit costs will be more likely to win their wars, ceteris paribus. However, lower borrowing costs provide states domestic political benefits, which I argue are more important for democracies than nondemocracies. Since expensive credit forces states to rely on its citizens for revenue, governments that are more sensitive to their citizens’ preferences are at a disadvantage. In sum, I argue that democracies are more sensitive to credit costs than authoritarian regimes. To test this theory, this article analyzes a data set of wars using logistic regressions and matching techniques, and examines the case of the Chaco War. The results demonstrate that the costs of borrowing have a substantial effect on war outcomes, and that these costs are more important for democracies than nondemocracies.
Previous scholarship has largely failed to address the effect of economic interdependence on issue areas other than interstate conflict. This study seeks to redress this lacuna by focusing on states’ visa policies and examining the impact of trade and capital interdependence in the context of transnational terrorism. The article argues that economic ties affect visa policies through a reconfiguration of preferences and the opportunity costs of economic loss and by tempering the impact of terrorism. To support this claim, the study conducts statistical analysis using directed dyad data on the visa policies of 207 states and independent political units. The article shows that the impact of economic interdependence is contingent on whether states are directly targeted in attacks of terrorism or face indirect threats from global terror. The study finds that economic incentives overwhelm security concerns when threats are indirect but have relatively limited influence, given threats against a state’s own citizens or territory.
How is negative reciprocity cultivated in an environment of violent conflict? This study investigates how students in the West Bank react to unfair proposals in an ultimatum game. Proposals submitted with Hebrew as compared to Arab handwriting are rejected more often. Israelis must offer 15 percent more of a given stake than Palestinians in order to achieve the same probability of acceptance. This willingness to lose money by rejecting proposals reveals a preference for discrimination against Israelis, cultivated in the conflict-ridden environment. Students who voice a militant attitude, surprisingly, do not reveal a higher tendency to discriminate, exercising a high degree of negative reciprocity toward all unfair proposals. But those who favor a political role for Islam have a higher inclination to discriminate. This implies that ethnic and religious cleavages do not consistently generate in-group solidarity.
A long-standing research tradition on political culture argues that greater support for core liberal values leads to a rejection of destructive political activities and reduced support for violent politics. In this vein, many contemporary analysts of security policy contend that a lack of democratic values in the Middle East promotes the development of violent political organizations. Unfortunately, there have been few direct tests of the hypothesis that an individual’s rejection of democratic values correlates with support for militant groups. We conduct such a test in Pakistan using an original 6,000-person provincially representative survey. We find that strong supporters of democratic values are actually more supportive of militant groups and that this relationship is strongest among those who believe that Muslim rights and sovereignty are being violated in Kashmir. This is consistent with the context of Pakistani politics, where many militant groups use the principle of azadi (i.e., freedom and self-determination) to justify their actions. These results challenge the conventional wisdom about the roots of militancy and underscore the importance of understanding how local context mediates the influence of civic culture on political stability and violence.
This article examines compliance with international laws prohibiting the intentional targeting of noncombatants in interstate war, specifically focusing on the role of third-party states in enforcement. We argue that the expectation of third-party coercion, when sufficiently high, can induce war participants to comply with this body of law. We identify the conditions under which combatant states will anticipate a high likelihood of coercion, demonstrating that third-party states are most likely to coerce combatants when they have both the willingness and opportunity to do so. Democratic third parties that value the rule of law and human rights possess the willingness to coerce war participants, while strong allies, trade partners, and intergovernmental organization (IGO) partners with existing ties to the combatant state have the opportunity to engage in coercion by linking combat-ant behavior to the provision of benefits or imposition of costs. Based on this logic, we hypothesize that war combatants who have ratified the Geneva/Hague Conventions prohibiting the intentional targeting of noncombatants during war are more likely to comply with the legal obligations included in those conventions when they interact with relatively strong democratic alliance, trade, and IGO partners. In a series of quantitative tests on a data set of all interstate wars from 1900 to 2003, we find strong statistical and substantive support for the role of third parties in inducing compliance with the law.
The phenomenon of suicide attacks has dramatically expanded over the last twenty years, rising from no events in 1980 to a total of 1,398 events by 2008. A prominent theory has argued that suicide attacks are a coercive strategy aimed at ending foreign military occupation by democracies. Yet these conclusions are based on a research design that is affected by selection bias and that fails to distinguish foreign occupations from cases of groups seeking independence or autonomy, which we term domestic occupations. Analyzing an original data set that distinguishes the different types of occupation, we find that only foreign occupations have a strong and consistent effect on the incidence of suicide attacks. The reason, we argue, is that suicide attacks only become cost effective when targets are both hardened and accessible, a strategic environment that is more common to civil wars and foreign occupations than to domestic occupations.
This article investigates the relationship between term limits and international conflict. Theories of political survival and diversionary war both imply term limits should play a role in international relations, whereas "permanent referendum theory," largely motivated by work in American politics, suggests otherwise. Drawing on these theories, we formulate and test competing hypotheses regarding term limits and international crises. Using dyadic militarized interstate disputes data and information on forty-eight democracies with term limits, we uncover strong evidence to support the claim that leaders reaching final terms in office are more likely to initiate conflict than those still subject to reelection. Moreover, we find that the likelihood of conflict initiation is significantly higher during times of recession, but only in the absence of binding term limits. While binding electoral terms and economic downturns are both independently associated with increased levels of conflict initiation, in concert their conditional effects actually counteract each other.
Most studies of the link between dyadic trade and militarized conflict examine the extent of trade interaction. However, interaction measures do not account for the impact of cutting off trade (i.e., exit costs). In this article, I highlight the link between exit costs, the cost of conflict, and "the spoils of conquest," arguing that one state’s exit costs are associated with higher incidence of dyadic conflict when its trade partner’s exit costs are low. However, its exit costs become less aggravating—and eventually pacifying—as its trade partner’s exit costs increase. I test this argument by estimating import demand and export supply elasticities, developing yearly exit cost measures for directed dyads, 1984–2000. Statistical tests confirm that unilaterally high exit costs are aggravating, but that jointly high exit costs are pacifying, a pattern most prominent for trade in strategic commodities.
The authors argue that theories regarding the relationship between trade and conflict could benefit greatly from accounting for the networked structure of international trade. Indirect trade relations reduce the probability of conflict by creating (1) opportunity costs of conflict beyond those reflected by direct trade ties and (2) negative externalities for the potential combatants’ trading partners, giving them an incentive to prevent the conflict. Trade flows create groups of states with relatively dense trade ties, which we call trading communities. Within these groups, the interruptions to trade caused by conflict create relatively large costs. As a result, joint members of trading communities are less likely to go to war; however little they directly trade with each other. The authors systematically measure and define trading communities across various levels of aggregation using the network analytic tool of modularity maximization. The authors find significant support for their hypothesis, indicating that interdependence theory can be extended to extra-dyadic relations.
Scholars have long accepted the contention that competition among terrorist organizations raises the level of violence used by the competitors. This article discusses this claim and advances another—that competition among terrorist organizations creates incentives to use less violence. Using insights from the organizational ecology literature—namely that competition occurs within "species"—I create a variable that assesses intraspecies competition. I test both claims using a data set of domestic terrorism created from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) for the years 1970 to 1997. I find support for the hypothesis that competition leads to more terrorism, validating the claims of outbidding theorists. Furthermore, ideologies have differential effects on whether outbidding occurs, with nationalist and religious terrorist groups responding to competition with more terrorism and left-wing organizations responding with less.
In order to assess the impact of culture on state behavior in international crises, specifically with regard to mediation and its outcome, this study tests hypotheses rooted in both the international relations and the cross-cultural psychology literatures, implementing analysis at both the international-system level and the domestic-state-actor level. At the international system level, the study finds that cultural difference between adversaries affects whether or not mediation occurs during an international crisis but has no effect on tension reduction. At the domestic state actor level, we find that there are certain facets of cultural identity that make a state more or less open to requesting or accepting third-party mediation during an international crisis, but that these facets have no effect on tension reduction.
Research on civil conflict focuses primarily on identifying underlying and proximate causes while leaving many questions of subsequent social consequences unanswered. Few studies have systematically examined how these conflicts affect public opinion, especially tolerance attitudes. Additionally, cross-national comparisons reveal significant differences in political tolerance levels but few explanations accounting for this variation. In this study, I bring together these disparate literatures and demonstrate the negative, independent effects of civil conflict on political tolerance levels across thirty-two countries. Examining data from the 1995–97 World Values Survey using several statistical techniques to ameliorate problems with endogeneity and multilevel data, I find that civil conflict dampens the public’s willingness to extend basic civil liberties to nonconformist groups. By assessing the extent of domestic intolerance generated by various forms of civil conflict, this study makes important contributions to existing literatures and, more importantly, identify another obstacle to sustained peace in postconflict societies.
Does development aid attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in post-conflict countries? This article contributes to the growing literature on effects of aid and on determinants of FDI by explaining how development aid in low-information environments is a signal that can attract investment. Before investing abroad, firms seek data on potential host countries. In post-conflict countries, reliable information is poor, in part because governments face unusual incentives to misrepresent information. In these conditions, firms look to signals. One is development aid, because donors tend to give more to countries they trust to properly handle the funds. Our results show that aid seems to draw FDI—however, this is conditional on whether the aid can be considered geostrategically motivated. We also show that this effect decreases as time elapses after the conflict. This suggests that aid’s signaling effect is specific to low-information environments, and helps rule out alternative causal mechanisms linking aid and FDI.
Do military alliances foster aggressive behavior in allies to the point of undermining the security goal of the alliance? Like others, we find that alliance commitments may cause moral hazard because allies do not fully internalize the costs of actions that can lead to war. But unlike others, we show that the effect of moral hazard can improve security. Moral hazard can be the driving force behind generating deterrence and avoiding costly conflict. Aggressors may refrain from initiating crises if their target enjoys additional resources from its ally and so is more willing to fight back. So rather than incurring costs, moral hazard may be the very key to deterring potential aggressors and minimizing the risk of conflict. This behavior allows alliance partners to capture a "deterrence surplus," which are the gains from avoiding conflict.
Civil conflict appears to be contagious—scholars have shown that civil wars in a state’s neighborhood make citizens more likely to rebel at home. However, war occurs when both rebels and the state engage in conflict. How do state authorities respond to the potential for civil conflict to spread? We argue that elites will anticipate the incentive-altering effects of civil wars abroad and increase repression at home to preempt potential rebellion. Using a Bayesian hierarchical model and spatially weighted conflict measures, we find robust evidence that a state will engage in higher levels of human rights violations as civil war becomes more prevalent in its geographic proximity. We thus find evidence that states violate rights as a function of the internal politics of other states. Further, we argue authorities will act not to mimic their neighbors but rather to avoid their fate.
Terrorist organizations do not operate in isolation. Instead, they forge alliances with one another, which generate a tight network of intergroup relationships. We argue that these relationships serve to increase group capacity, manifesting itself in the ability of a group to conduct deadly attacks. However, groups are notably judicious when they forge these cooperative ties, preferring to link to the strongest groups to which they have access. The result of this process of preferential attachment is a core/periphery structure in the broader network of alliances. Moreover, groups with ties to organizations at the core of the broader universe of relationships reap more rewards than those with large numbers of less meaningful alliances. Terrorism research and counterterrorism policy should assess terrorist organizations in the broader context of their interrelationships and depth of alliances rather than in isolation.
Under what conditions will a state repress its citizens? The literature examining human rights violations lacks consensus over exactly how repression and dissent are interrelated. I argue that contradictions have arisen because scholars have not derived expectations consistent with modeling three common assumptions: (1) dissent and repression are causally interrelated (2) states and groups are in conflict over some policy or good and (3) authorities repress to remain in office. I develop a formal model based on these principles, and I predict that changes in the same independent variable can have divergent effects on the onset and severity of repression. Using coded event data for all states from 1990 to 2004 and a two-tiered estimator, I find that increases in executive job security decrease the likelihood that repression will occur in the first place, but increase the severity of observed violations.
Third-party conflict management, particularly legal dispute resolution (arbitration and adjudication) and mediation, can help improve the willingness of disputants to make asymmetric concessions by ameliorating commitment problems and providing political cover. In both regards, and especially pertaining to commitment problems, mediation has substantial limitations when compared to legal dispute resolution. We develop these arguments and test the observable implications on the Issue Correlates of War data. To get traction on the mechanisms at work, we distinguish between challenger concessions and defender concessions, positing that challenger concessions face the primary hurdle of political cover while defender concessions face the primary hurdle of commitment problems. We find that legal dispute resolution strongly increases the propensity for concessions by both challengers and targets, even major asymmetric concessions. Mediation, on the other hand, only helps increase minor challenger concessions. Also consistent with expectations, mediation best enables asymmetric challenger concessions in the highly salient cases that need the most political cover, and legal dispute resolution best enables asymmetric concessions when there has been a history of failed conflict management attempts that perpetuate mistrust.
In this article, I move beyond prior efforts to explore the relationship between the risk of a coup and international conflict by considering alternatives that leaders can utilize to strengthen their regimes. I offer two theoretical expectations. First, I theorize that leaders lose the incentive and ability to use diversion when the structural coup-proofing apparatus is strengthened. Second, I expect military finances to lead to disparate behavior when considering regime type. Autocrats are expected to use military funds to provide private incentives to the armed forces, largely in the form of allowances. Democracies, in contrast, will be required to use expenditures to promote the public good of national security due to the transparency of their regimes. Autocrats are expected to lose the incentive to use diversion as the financial endowment of their militaries increase, while democracies will continue to show a diversionary trend due to their increased military capabilities. The theory is tested using global data from 1962 to 2000, with the findings strongly supporting the theory.
The emergence and institutionalization of cooperation in sizable groups without reciprocity receives considerable attention in game-theoretical modeling. Agents in our study play the Prisoner’s Dilemma game cooperating with tolerably similar neighbors. They may imitate cultural markers (tags) and tolerance from more successful neighbors. Alternatively, they break ties to out-group neighbors. New partners are selected either from neighbors’ neighbors (clustering) or randomly. Variations in network plasticity (the likelihood of changing partners rather than being influenced) and clustering are explored. With high plasticity and high clustering, networks tend to fragment. With low plasticity and low clustering, networks tend toward global cooperation, but with severe losses of cultural diversity and tolerance. Cooperation in such regimes also proves to be vulnerable to defection. Between, there is a space displaying relatively stable and widespread cooperation with diversity and tolerance. We note some important structural characteristics of the networks evolving in this space.
Political scientists tend to focus on environmental triggers as the primary precipitating cause for political violence. However, little has been done to explain why certain individuals faced with certain pressures resort to violence, while others confronting the same situation seek out diplomatic and peaceful resolutions to conflict. Here, using two independent samples, we explore the interaction between genetic disposition and violent early life events and their influence on engaging in physical violence. We find that individuals with the low-activity form of monoamine oxidase-A, who are exposed to violence in youth have a greater likelihood of engaging in physical aggression later in adulthood. Our findings hold important implications for the value of environmental intervention in communities besieged by political violence in order to reduce the likelihood of the intergenerational transfer of its propensity.
A number of recent studies argue that there is decline in armed conflict within and between nations. Gohdes and Price run against the grain in arguing that there is no evidence for a decrease in battle deaths in armed conflicts after World War II and that the trend reported in our earlier articles is spurious. However, they do not plausibly justify this thesis. We reexamine the argument for a decline, exploring nonlinearities in the data and potential biases due to measurement error. We find that very strong assumptions must hold in order for measurement errors to explain the trend in battle deaths.
We address weaknesses in the Peace Research Insitute Oslo (PRIO) Battle Deaths Dataset, and as a result draw contradicting conclusions to those presented by Lacina and Gleditsch. Our analysis focuses on the availability of data on battle deaths within specific conflict-years and problems encountered when data from multiple types of sources are combined. We repeat Lacina, Gleditsch, and Russett’s analysis of battle deaths over time, with an attempt to provide a more robust model and incorporate an estimate of the uncertainty present in the PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset. This reanalysis reveals that the data used to establish the PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset does not offer a clear answer as to whether battle deaths have decreased or increased since the end of the Second World War. We contend that while the PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset offers the most comprehensive assembly of battle deaths data available to date, it is not suitable for analysis across countries or over time.
This study considers prospects for the revitalization of social norms after ethnic violence using a behavioral experiment in postwar Bosnia. In the experiment, subjects are asked to distribute a ten-unit monetary sum between two anonymous recipients of random ethnicity. The results indicate a surprisingly high number of egalitarian distributions across ethnicity, which is interpreted as evidence of a norm of fairness. Discriminating behavior in the experiment is explained as a product of ethnic parochialism (rewarding co-ethnics and punishing non-co-ethnics). Overall, the experiment speaks to the resiliency of an important aspect of pro-social behavior after violence—impartiality in the treatment of others.
Can endorsement of the ethos of conflict alter psychological effects of exposure to political violence? Israelis and Palestinians have been in a state of political and military turmoil for decades. We interviewed 781 Israelis and 1,196 Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Using structural equation modeling, we found that among those with a weak adherence to ethos of conflict, exposure predicted higher levels of hatred. For Israelis with a weak adherence to ethos of conflict, exposure predicted higher psychological distress and fear. For Palestinians with weaker adherence to ethos of conflict, stronger exposure predicted stronger threat perceptions. Israelis and Palestinians with a strong adherence to the ethos showed steady and high levels of negative emotions and threat, regardless of exposure. These results indicate that ethos of conflict is a double-edged sword that both protects and protracts the conflict. Although it serves as an engine fueling the conflict, it also plays a meaningful role as an empowering force for people suffering the psychological burden of an ongoing conflict.
Do audience costs have to be extremely large in order to credibly signal resolve and affect international crises? Existing theoretical work on audience costs suggests an affirmative answer, and recent empirical work on audience costs focuses on whether a leader can generate such large audience costs as to create a commitment to fight where no such commitment previously existed. We analyze a richer crisis bargaining model with audience costs and find that (1) audience costs can have war-reducing effects on incomplete-information crisis bargaining through a noninformative, bargaining-leverage mechanism and (2) audience costs can have war-reducing effects even when such large audience costs are not being generated as to create a commitment to fight where no such commitment previously existed. Even more limited audience costs can have war-reducing effects in international crises. We discuss how the bargaining-leverage mechanism is consistent with a number of prominent historical cases.
Although they are arguably the worst violators of human rights, dictators sometimes commit to international human rights treaties like the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) to appease their domestic opposition. Importantly, however, executives facing effective judiciaries must anticipate ex post costs that can arise when international treaties are likely to be enforced domestically. This suggests that one domestic institution—a political opposition party—may provide a dictator with incentives to commit to international human rights treaties and violate human rights, while another—an effective domestic judiciary—may constrain the dictator’s ability to violate human rights and incentivize him to avoid international commitment. How do dictators make choices about commitment to human rights law and respect for human rights when they face conflicting domestic incentives? Furthermore, how do these divergent incentives affect compliance when dictators do commit to international treaties? In this article, I argue that the domestic incentives dictators face to support the CAT and engage in torture are moderated in countries with effective domestic judiciaries.
Ethnicity is frequently posited as an important factor in civil violence and other political contexts. Despite the attention that ethnicity receives, its effects depend on an important, but mostly ignored, assumption that ethnicity is identifiable within and across groups. There is likely considerable variation in peoples’ abilities to identify each other. Certain individuals within groups might be better at identifying others’ ethnicities; further, different types of information might aid identification better. We contend that the strength of an individual’s ethnic identity influences her ability to identify others correctly. We test this argument using an experiment in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in which individuals attempted to identify members of the major black ethnic groups. We find that the average individual struggles to identify ethnicity correctly in many conditions. Individuals with a stronger identity, however, are often better at correctly identifying the ethnicity of others relative to the average individual. When receiving contradictory information, individuals with stronger identities were sometimes deceived more easily than others. These results have implications for a diverse set of studies relying on the identifiability assumption.
This article examines civil war resolution as a process comprised of multiple interdependent stages. It engages directly the idea that peace emerges only as a process comprised of battle, negotiation, agreement, and implementation of an agreement. I hypothesize that events at earlier stages of the peace process have implications for later stages, but not always in the same ways. Drawing on bargaining models of war, I consider how two factors that might prevent successful bargaining—stalemates and the number of actors—can encourage cooperation early in a peace process but impede lasting cooperation at later stages. Using a nested dichotomies statistical approach to capture interdependence, I find support for the argument that stalemates and the number of actors have different effects depending on the stage of the peace process. The results substantiate the need in theoretical and policy work to consider peace as an interdependent, sequential process.
While piracy may evoke romanticized visions of swashbuckling, rum swigging, and skirt chasing pirates hoisting the Jolly Roger, maritime piracy has changed substantially by taking advantage of modernization and substantial upgrading of the weapons, vessels, and weapons it employs. In addition, as documented by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the frequency of pirate attacks has increased significantly, with more than 2,600 piracy incidents occurring since 2004. The authors argue that piracy is a result of permissive institutional environments and the lack of legal forms of employment in states’ fishing sectors. The authors investigate these arguments empirically using data for all countries with coastlines in the 1995–2007 period. The empirical analyses show that state weakness and reductions in fisheries production values affect piracy as expected. These findings suggest that international efforts in combating piracy should center on improving the institutional environments and labor opportunities driving maritime piracy.
Governments are concerned about the dangers posed by ballistic missiles. However, there is almost no theoretical or empirical scholarship on ballistic missiles. This article presents and tests the conventional wisdom that the spread of ballistic missiles makes conflict more likely. Original data on ballistic missiles and on crisis initiation is collected, and analysis using a variety of statistical models is conducted. It is found that among all directed dyads from 1946 to 2007, potential challengers possessing ballistic missiles are significantly more likely to initiate international crises. Further, potential targets armed with ballistic missiles are significantly less likely to be challenged. Crises are less likely to escalate when targets are armed with missiles. The results are obtained after accounting for several control variables. Analysis reveals that the findings are not affected by possible endogeneity bias. The analysis also reveals complex interactive effects between ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons on the onset of international crises.
Using a simulated bilateral negotiation over several security issues, the authors explore how variations in the negotiation context influence reactions to a negotiatinga crisis. Negotiators were primed to focus on one of three aspects of the context: transaction costs, dependence, or shared identity. They were asked to respond to the crisis with a decision to reach an immediate agreement, continue negotiating, or reframe the issues. The results showed that mutual dependence (unattractive alternatives) led to reframing (turning points) whereas high transaction costs led to a preference for continuing the negotiation. Shared identity did not affect negotiators preference across alternative courses of action. Affective trust amplified the impact of dependence and transaction costs: the decision to reframe was made more often by negotiators who reported low affective trust, whereas the decision to reach immediate agreement was made more often by negotiators who reported high affective trust. High cognitive trust encouraged negotiators to continue the negotiation if they had a shared identity or if transaction costs were high. Applications were made to real-world cases and implications were developed for Relational Order theory and for further research.
This article suggests a rational explanation for extreme voluntary sacrifice in situations in which the state of the world when the decision must be made is observable only by the agent. Such explanation is the cult of martyrs, heroes, and saints. This cult may get out of control and fuel fanaticism, or excessive sacrifice from the standpoint of the sponsoring organization. A survey of the historical evidence of Christian martyrdom strongly suggests that martyrs were driven by the expectation of a cult in this world, not by otherworldly rewards. In particular, it is argued that the evidence of excess martyrdom in both Muslim Spain and the Roman Empire strongly speaks for the cult theory.
Elections constitute a fundamental element of postconflict peacebuilding efforts in the post–cold war era and are often held soon after conflicts end. Yet, the impact of early elections on postconflict stability is the subject of sharp debate. While some argue that early elections facilitate peace agreements, hasten democratization, and ensure postconflict stability, others suggest that they undermine genuine democracy and spark a renewal in fighting. In this study, we argue that holding elections soon after a civil war ends generally increases the likelihood of renewed fighting, but that favorable conditions, including decisive victories, demobilization, peacekeeping, power sharing, and strong political, administrative and judicial institutions, can mitigate this risk. We attempt to reconcile the extant qualitative debate on postconflict elections through a quantitative analysis of all civil wars ending in the post–World War II period.
Why does the military intervene in the politics of some countries but remain under firm civilian control in others? The paper argues that the origins of military intervention in politics lie in a fundamental moral hazard problem associated with authoritarian repression. Dictators must deter those who are excluded from power from challenging them. When underlying, polity-wide conflict results in threats to the regime that take the particular form of mass, organized, and potentially violent opposition, the military is the only force capable of defeating them. The military exploits this pivotal position by demanding greater institutional autonomy as well as a say in policy, and it threatens to intervene if the civilian leadership departs from a subsequent compromise on these issues. A game-theoretic analysis of such contracting on violence implies that the likelihood of military intervention in politics should be greatest at intermediate levels of mass threats. Original, large-N data on military intervention support these claims.
The recent war in Croatia (1991–1995) has had numerous adverse affects on the country and the economy as a whole. This article investigates the effect that the war had on the educational, employment, and earnings trajectories of the 1971 birth cohort of men. This birth cohort was very likely to be drafted into the armed forces. Using data from the Croatian and Slovenian Labour Force Surveys, the author treats the occurrence of the war as a natural experiment and applies the difference-in-difference framework to compare this cohort to adjacent cohorts, women, and respective cohorts in Slovenia, a neighboring country that did not experience war. The war appears to have had a negative effect on educational outcomes but a small positive effect on employment and earnings outcomes of this cohort of men. Croatia's victory in the war may provide an explanation for the observed preferential treatment of draftees in the labor market.
Can issue linkage, the combining of multiple issues into a single agreement, enhance the credibility of an agreement? I use the alliance relations of buffer states (states located between two recently or currently warring rivals) to test the claim that issue linkage enhances compliance with treaty obligations. The alliance relations of buffer states create a "hard case" for treaty compliance because, by being prone to invasion and occupation, buffer states have difficulties inducing states to remain committed to an alliance agreement. Hence, if linkage provisions can enhance the credibility of alliance commitments for buffer states, then linkage provisions should improve treaty compliance in nearly any context. I find that buffer states in alliances with trade provisions experience fewer opportunistic violations of the alliance terms, avoid occupation and invasion at a higher rate, and experience fewer third-party attacks than buffer states in other alliance arrangements.
The article analyzes the impact of private military companies (PMCs) on the duration of civil wars in Africa from 1990 to 2008. We develop an "opportunity structure" theory to argue that while PMCs are profit-oriented entities, the prevalent opportunities in conflicts will determine how they behave in war zones. Empirical findings for civil wars with at least 1,000 battle deaths show that as level of competition among government-hired PMCs increases, they are more likely to deliver optimal services and help bring an end to violence. In the absence of competition, the prevalent structure creates opportunities for PMCs to underperform in order to maximize profits by staying in conflicts longer. The authors also show that swift cessation of hostilities could benefit those profit-seeking PMCs that are compensated with contracts to extract natural resources because resource extraction generates more wealth in peace time. In such cases, the prevalent opportunities in conflict create an incentive for companies to deliver optimal service and terminate hostilities.