As a fundamental concept in peace research, trust, or the lack of it, has shown to be associated with the onset of violent conflict, the instability of negotiated settlement, and the sustainability of peace. Despite its proven importance, the question of how political trust can be built after civil conflicts has only received limited attention and remains unanswered. While previous studies demonstrated that improved provision of public services plays a significant role in a trust-building process, the present article shows a more nuanced picture, namely that service enhancement only works if it reflects the needs of people. Projects that do not properly mirror the needs of people, however, have no direct effect on building political trust. Using micro-level data from Sierra Leone, the article finds that people are more likely to trust governments that are willing to listen and respond to their needs and demands. Though government performance carries the previously hypothesized effect, its explanatory power reduces substantively once responsiveness is introduced into the analysis. This finding also holds when potential biases due to endogeneity and sample selection are considered. Results from a mediation analysis also indicate that if government performance has any effect, it is transmitted through the responsiveness mechanism. Overall, this article contributes to the literature by clarifying the mechanism of trust-building in post-conflict societies.
A well-known finding in the literature on ethnic conflict is that new states are more prone to ethnic conflict than old states. What are less well known, however, are the mechanisms through which independence leads to ethnic conflict. This lacuna is surprising since the literature offers different mechanisms to explain the result, each pointing to very distinct policy responses. This article examines these mechanisms by analyzing variations in the time from independence until an ethnic group engaged in armed conflict in ex-British colonies using an original colonial legacies dataset covering 177 ethnic groups in 33 ex-colonies. My analysis reveals that the main group-level triggers of early conflict onset are perceptions of backwardness, exclusion from political power on the eve of independence, downgrading of political status in the immediate aftermath of independence, and being regionally based. More generally, I find that shorter durations of post-independence peace are better explained by subjective evaluations of group worth instead of rational assessments of the costs and benefits of mobilization. These findings indicate that power-sharing arrangements may be a sine qua non for stabilizing new states in divided societies since what is at play in these contexts are complex considerations of group status that cannot be accommodated by non-ethnic institutional arrangements.
Research suggests that nonviolent resistance (NVR) campaigns are more successful in deposing dictators than armed rebellions. However, ousting dictators is only the first step in the process of democratization. After deposing an autocratic regime, societies enter a transition phase where they must learn to consolidate the gains of democracy and bargain about the new rules of the democratic regime. But even if free, fair, and competitive elections are held, indicating a successful transition to democratic rule, uncertainty about its stability remains salient. In the period that follows, either democracy survives and proves to be resilient, or an autocratic backslide occurs. In this article, we analyze the effect of NVR campaigns on the survival of democratic regimes. Building on the literature on modes of transitions and nonviolent resistance, we argue that those democratic regimes that come into being as a result of a NVR campaign are less prone to democratic breakdown. The main mechanism which produces this effect is that the organizational culture of NVR campaigns spills over to the subsequent democratic regime fostering conditions favorable for democratic survival. We test the effect of NVR campaigns on democratic regime survival using survival analysis and propensity score matching. The results show that democratic regimes that experience NVR during the transition phase survive substantially longer than regimes without NVR.
Despite the increased emphasis on domestic politics in the study of international law, scholars remain divided about whether and how international law affects domestic institutions. Moreover, while public support is a core ingredient for sustainable, legitimate policies in a democracy, research at the individual level of analysis remains limited. Weighing in on these areas of study, we investigate the use of drone strikes for counterterrorism, a subject of considerable debate. Proponents in the government point to drones as both effective for disrupting terrorist networks and compatible with international law. Critics from groups such as international organizations (IOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) respond that attacks create more terrorists than they kill and violate legal commitments. The central question we ask in this article is whether these international legal criticisms impact public support for drone strikes, the centerpiece of US counterterrorism policy, or whether individuals are more persuaded by effectiveness-based arguments. Employing a survey experiment of a nationally representative sample of the United States, we find IO and NGO criticisms can shape public attitudes even around an important national security issue like drone strikes, but are most influential when messages center on legal critiques rather than matters of effectiveness. Our findings speak to fundamental questions about the domestic politics of international legal commitments, the role of IOs and NGOs in shaping political debates, and the durability of US counterterrorism policy.
This study explores the local effects of internal armed conflict on postwar violent crime in Northern Ireland. It argues that exposure to wartime violence will lead to higher levels of violent crime in the aftermath of conflict. Particularly, it claims that exposure to violence committed by armed groups challenging the state (anti-government groups) will have this effect, as it erodes the legitimacy needed for local law enforcement agencies to function effectively. This, in turn, is expected to contribute to the emergence of a postwar public security gap that lowers opportunity costs to resort to violent crime for a range of local actors. To evaluate these propositions, spatial statistics on a subnational dataset covering war-related fatalities for the period 1969–98 and police crime records for the postwar period 2002–06 are employed. The results indicate that the more an area has been exposed to violence, and the larger the proportion of this violence committed by anti-government groups, the more violent crime on the local level. This study hence contributes both to the burgeoning literature on the legacies of civil war and to recent research emphasizing the need to disaggregate non-state actors.
Does class inequality increase the risk of civil war? I posit that inequality between social classes affects civil wars through two pathways: (1) it heightens the risk of political violence by fueling distributive conflicts; and (2) it reduces structural coup-proofing, which, in turn, increases the capacity of the military to fight insurgents. Combining these effects implies that the net effect of class inequality on civil war is ambiguous. Although class inequality increases the propensity for violence, in unequal countries political violence rarely takes the form of wars because such countries have strong militaries. Class inequality, however, breeds other forms of political violence. In particular, it increases the likelihood of military coups. The two effects of class inequality reinforce each other in the case of coups: inequality simultaneously stirs distributional conflicts and increases the capacity of the military to mount coups by reducing coup-proofing. Using data on 128 developing countries between 1960 and 2008, I find that while class inequality fosters coups, it has no discernible effect on civil wars. I also provide evidence consistent with my causal mechanisms: (1) inequality creates greater threat to the rulers by fueling political instability; (2) inequality reduces structural coup-proofing; and (3) structural coup-proofing increases the likelihood of civil war.
Despite growing concerns about the possible security implications of extreme precipitation shortfalls in vulnerable and politically fragile regions, the particular conditions that make armed violence more or less likely in times of drought remain poorly understood. Using a spatially disaggregated research design and focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, the present analysis assesses how far violent and nonviolent outcomes in the wake of drought can be accounted for by regional differences in the provision of key infrastructures that help coping with drought and preventing violence. The results indicate that civil conflict events in connection with drought are more likely in administrative areas with poorly developed road infrastructures. Drought-related communal violence, on the other hand, is more likely in regions where an important part of the population lacks access to an improved water source. Thus, while the provision of key infrastructures seems to moderate local conflict risks in connection with drought, there are nevertheless important distinctions with regard to different types of infrastructures and forms of armed violence. However, the importance of precipitation shortfalls as a conflict-facilitating factor in sub-Saharan Africa should not be overstated, as the overall contribution of drought measures to predicting violent events is modest in all calculated models.
To what extent can prosocial norms (re-)emerge among rival groups following intense intergroup conflict? One school of thought posits that violence can strengthen intragroup bonding norms, entrenching parochialism and sustaining in-group biases. However, recent studies suggest that intergroup bridging norms can also improve once conflict ends. Our research offers insights into how prosocial bridging vs. parochial bonding norms evolve after violence. To measure dynamics of social norms, we employ surveys and dictator game experiments with ethnic treatments which we administered in Bosnia in 2003 and replicated in 2013 using well-balanced samples of ethnic Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs in a difference-in-difference research design. We find that prosocial bridging norms improve over time. However, we also observe persistent parochial biases in terms of how in-groups are perceived and treated relative to out-groups. Regression analysis shows that intergroup bridging norms are more salient among individuals who reside in ethnically intermixed, institutionally integrated regions of Bosnia, including those who experienced traumatic forms of wartime victimization. Covariate matching on internal displacement and victimization reduces concerns that our results are driven by selection effects. Our findings lend support to the view that integration and intergroup contact among former rivals increases prosociality while partition and social segregation encourage parochialism.
This article takes a game-theoretic and latent variable approach to modeling the effect of international social hierarchies on conflict among states. I start with the premise that international states are social actors and are nested within informal social networks of friendly and conflictual relationships. Rather than lateral relationships among equals, networks among states tend to have a vertical or hierarchical structure. Although international hierarchical relationships may arise as a result of material power asymmetries, this article focuses on non-material asymmetries that stem from political legitimacy or policy innovation – a subject that has received less attention in scholarly research. I argue that, within these hierarchies, states adopt one of two roles – a dominant or a subordinate. Each resulting (dyadic) dominant–subordinate relationship is a social contract, in which the subordinate concedes some autonomy in exchange for the dominant’s protection. This social hierarchy affects the relationships among subordinates, as well as between a dominant and subordinates. The model predicts that a state’s degree of subordination reduces its probability of conflict initiation against other subordinates. Moreover, the decision to initiate conflict is influenced by the expectation that the dominant will intervene, which itself is affected by the target’s relative level of subordination to the dominant vis-à-vis the challenger. These predictions are supported by empirical analyses of the US hierarchy (1950–2000).
Sanctions are designed to reduce the amount of resources available to the targeted actor and have the potential to be an effective tool for bringing disputing sides in a civil conflict to the bargaining table by altering incentives for continued fighting. Thus, there is reason to believe that sanctions can shorten the duration of civil conflicts. However, once sides in a conflict have moved to the use of violence to settle their dispute, it is hard for sanctions, in isolation, to impose enough cost to convince warring factions that settling a conflict has greater value than what could be expected from continued fighting. In this article, we argue that sanctions, in isolation, are unlikely to affect the duration of civil conflicts. However, when sanctions are combined with military interventions they can contribute to conflict management strategies resulting in shorter civil conflicts. We test our expectations empirically using data on civil conflicts from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program Armed Conflict Database and data on economic sanctions from the Threat and Imposition of Economic Sanctions Database. Our results suggest that the best hope for sanctions to shorten the duration of civil conflicts is if they are used as part of a comprehensive international response that includes institutional sanctions and military interventions.
This article investigates the effect of natural resources on whether ethno-political groups choose to pursue their goals with nonviolent as compared to violent means, distinguishing terrorism from insurgencies. It is hypothesized that whether or not the extraction of fossil fuels sparks violence depends both on the group’s characteristics and the state’s reaction. Data are taken from the Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) project, covering 118 organizations in 13 countries of the Middle East and North Africa over the 1980–2004 period. The multinomial logit models combine group- and country-specific information and show that ethno-political groups are more likely to resort to rebellion rather than using nonviolent means or becoming terrorists when representing regions rich in oil. This effect is enhanced for groups already enjoying regional autonomy or being supported by a foreign state but can be mitigated by power-sharing arrangements. These results are thus in line with the argument that economic considerations, or ‘greed’, dominate over political considerations, or ‘grievances’, with regard to violent conflicts. The opposite appears to hold considering terrorism, as we do not find any evidence for a resource curse here, but find an increasing effect of political discrimination and a decreasing effect of regional autonomy.
The capitalist peace thesis argues transnational economic ties have a pacifying effect on interstate relations. An extension of this literature reports that economic ties can prompt belligerents in civil conflicts to peacefully resolve their disputes and can attract third-party intervention from states with strong economic ties. This pacifying effect of economic ties, we argue, is applicable in the context of coups d’état: as a state becomes more economically interdependent with the rest of the world, the opportunity costs of domestic political disturbances are raised for both the targeted state and its financial partners. These costs – potential economic losses and a damaged economic reputation – influence belligerents in the state to use constitutional means to resolve their disputes while providing stronger incentives to foreign economic partners to influence the calculus of these belligerents as they consider the coup attempt. We test this argument quantitatively by investigating the influence of a dozen indicators of economic openness on coups in a global sample of states from 1952 to 2007. Our findings demonstrate the applicability of the capitalist peace thesis to coups d’état, manifestations of political uncertainty that are less likely to be accompanied by substantial loss of life or destruction of infrastructure.
The holding of elections has become universal but only about half of all elections are free and fair. Electoral malpractice not only distorts the quality of representation but has implications for political, social and economic outcomes. Existing datasets either provide information on election quality for a large number of elections but offer little detail, or they provide very detailed information for a small number of elections. Our data collection effort closes this gap by providing ten variables of election quality for all leadership elections for the period 1975–2011. We use these data to provide an assessment of elections that is closely tied to the commonly used term ‘free and fair’. We define ‘freeness’ of the election as the rules of the election and the process leading up to the election, and ‘fairness’ of the election refers to the events on the election day. Our data show that the quality of elections has declined over time. These electoral problems are mainly due to issues in the run-up to the elections. Using probit regressions we investigate the possible causes of election malpractice. Our analysis suggests that the freeness and the fairness of the elections are related to a number of variables, such as income, aid, executive constraints and the presence of election monitors, but that these variables have differential effects on freeness and fairness.
Nighttime illumination can serve as a proxy for economic variables in particular in developing countries, where data are often not available or of poor quality. Existing research has demonstrated this for coarse levels of analytical resolution, such as countries, administrative units or large grid cells. In this article, we conduct the first fine-grained analysis of night lights and wealth in developing countries. The use of large-scale, geo-referenced data from the Demographic and Health Surveys allows us to cover 39 less developed, mostly non-democratic countries with a total sample of more than 34,000 observations at the level of villages or neighborhoods. We show that light emissions are highly accurate predictors of economic wealth estimates even with simple statistical models, both when predicting new locations in a known country and when generating predictions for previously unobserved countries.
Over the past 20 years scholars have repeatedly highlighted the complex relationship between conflict, peace and economics. It is today accepted that economic factors at the global, regional, national and local levels can promote conflict in various ways and that economic factors are therefore central in establishing a sustainable post-conflict peace. However, while the scholarly literature includes much nuance regarding the precise nature of these complex relationships, practices of peacebuilding are often far less nuanced. Instead there is a tendency to pin the hopes of fragile post-conflict states on establishing a liberalized and supposedly peace-promoting economy and a worrying absence of grounded assessments of the impacts of such policies. This article argues that the resulting lack of clarity regarding the local impacts of such peacebuilding mechanisms contributes to continued unwarranted enthusiasm for marketization among policymakers and practitioners. This issue is addressed directly by exploring the destabilizing and potentially conflict-inducing impacts of one foreign direct investment (FDI) project in rural Sierra Leone. The dominance of liberal approaches to economic policy within peacebuilding has recently combined with a surge in large-scale FDI projects, often labelled as ‘land-grabs’, which can be interpreted as a direct embodiment of the liberal peace paradigm. While the liberal peace assumes that such projects will help by paying taxes, rebuilding state capacity and employing idle young males, the article illustrates that among local populations such projects can be experienced as deeply disruptive and potentially conflict-promoting. It therefore describes four specific mechanisms by which the project in this setting endangers Sierra Leone’s still precarious transition to peace. The article concludes with recommendations for peacebuilding theorists, policy advocates and practitioners trying to navigate the difficult waters of post-conflict peacebuilding by way of large-scale FDI and marketization in general.
This article presents new data on provisions for police reform in peace agreements (PRPA) between 1975 and 2011. The PRPA dataset complements past research on the determinants and effects of specific terms in agreements with detailed data on police reform provisions. The PRPA dataset also adds a quantitative dimension to the thus far largely qualitative literature on post-conflict security sector reform (SSR). It includes information on six subtypes of police reform: capacity, training, human rights standards, accountability, force composition and international training and monitoring. We show that there is currently a high global demand for the regulation of police reform through peace agreements: police reform provisions are now more regularly included in agreements than settlement terms that call for power-sharing or elections. We observe interesting variations in the inclusion of police reform provisions in relation to past human rights violations, regime type, or the scope of international peacekeeping prior to negotiations, and illustrate the implications of police reform provisions for the duration of post-conflict peace. Finally, we stimulate ideas on how scholars and policymakers can use the PRPA dataset in future to study new questions on post-conflict police reform.
Repression is the expected response to anti-government protest; however, leaders can also accommodate demonstrators. Committing to human rights treaties is considered in this environment, where treaty commitments are conceptualized as a policy concession that leaders can grant dissenters. Past research has shown that top-down domestic pressures, such as new democratic regimes, can influence treaty commitments. This article extends this line of research by considering the influence of bottom-up domestic pressure, arguing that nonviolent, pro-democracy movements can pressure leaders into concessions, as these movements are risky to repress but threatening to ignore. Leaders are expected to seek ‘cheap’ accommodations, and commitments to human rights treaties provide a relatively low-cost concession that also addresses demonstrators’ pro-democracy demands. Using commitments to the nine core UN human rights treaties, results are generally supportive. Governments experiencing a nonviolent, pro-democracy movement are consistently likely to sign human rights treaties. Ratification is also likely but in more limited contexts, and is more closely related to movement success. This suggests that bottom-up pressures can influence commitment to human rights treaties, but there may be little substance behind those concessions. The status quo and cost-averse preferences of leaders lead them to grant accommodations that result in minimal change and cost.
International territorial conflicts are frequently characterized by political recourse to narratives of nationalist entitlement, stifling conflict resolution by raising domestic audience costs and discursively limiting bargaining flexibility. Conflict incentivizes elite employment of such claims precisely because security threats and fear of violence heighten popular resonance of adversarial collective identity frames. This article argues, however, that consensus mobilization behind nationalist territorial claims is highly dependent upon the particular narratives elites select to justify them. Employing controlled individual-level experiments administered to diverse populations in Israel, it demonstrates how exposure to competing narratives of homeland, security, economic prosperity, and settlement impacts support for control of East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank. Although indivisible claims to ‘United Jerusalem’, the Golan, and West Bank settlement blocs and strategic highlands are generally considered popular consensus issues in Israel, only particular narratives trigger consensus mobilization behind each. Some narratives even encourage conciliatory policy attitudes against such appeals. As a democracy embroiled in multiple enduring territorial disputes, analysis of the Israeli case contributes to understanding of the limits and political consequences of elite rhetoric. Demonstrating the affinity between narrative frames and popular policy preferences, this article also lends insight into the intersubjective beliefs that drive mass support for nationalist territorial claims.
The purpose of this study is to identify and explain recent US human rights policy in the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). Foreign aid, whether distributed directly (bilateral aid) or indirectly through multilateral institutions such as the MDBs, is one of several tools through which the USA furthers its human rights policy. Several studies show the conflicted human rights policies the USA pursues with bilateral aid, but very few examine the role of human rights in US multilateral aid policy. It is this deficit that the present study addresses by examining what factors determine how the USA votes on proposals before the Executive Board in the various MDBs. Using a multinomial logistic regression model I test whether US votes in the MDBs are conditioned on recipient countries’ respect for human rights along with other strategic interest variables. The study finds that respect for political rights has an important role in determining US votes in the MDBs although much of the impact is accounted for by votes specifically against China. Conversely, respect for rights of personal integrity do not have an impact on US voting. Level of economic development and whether the country receives military aid from the USA are also important determinants of US votes, as well as the level of trade between the USA and the recipient country.
This analysis uses survey data representing three of the world’s most populous Muslim majority countries to challenge conventional wisdom on what shapes Muslim public opinion on political violence against the United States. It improves previous analysis by clearly distinguishing support for violence against civilians from support for violence against military targets and by featuring independent variables that clearly separate views on US foreign policies from views on US culture. Logistic regression shows that, among Egyptian, Pakistani and Indonesian Muslims, perceptions of controversial US policies toward Israel, Middle Eastern oil, or the perceived attempt to weaken and divide the Muslim world are not related to support for attacks on civilians in the United States, but only to support for attacks on US military targets. Approval of attacks on US civilians is shaped, instead, by negative views of US freedom of expression, culture, and people, disapproval of the domestic political status quo and the notion of general US hostility toward democracy in the Middle East. This last finding has important implications for US and Western policies toward the post-Arab Spring Middle East in particular and the broader relationship with the Muslim World in general.
Sample selection models, variants of which are the Heckman and Heckit models, are increasingly used by political scientists to accommodate data in which censoring of the dependent variable raises concerns of sample selectivity bias. Beyond demonstrating several pitfalls in the calculation of marginal effects and associated levels of statistical significance derived from these models, we argue that many of the empirical questions addressed by political scientists would – for both substantive and statistical reasons – be more appropriately addressed using an alternative but closely related procedure referred to as the two-part model (2 PM). Aside from being simple to estimate, one key advantage of the 2 PM is its less onerous identification requirements. Specifically, the model does not require the specification of so-called exclusion restrictions, variables that are included in the selection equation of the Heckit model but omitted from the outcome equation. Moreover, we argue that the interpretation of the marginal effects from the 2 PM, which are in terms of actual outcomes, are more appropriate for the questions typically addressed by political scientists than the potential outcomes ascribed to the Heckit results. Drawing on data from the Correlates of War database, we present an empirical analysis of conflict intensity illustrating that the choice between the sample selection model and 2 PM can bear fundamentally on the conclusions drawn.
Studies of insurgency and collective action are divided between structural and dynamic explanations. Structural theories address the presence of insurgency while dynamic theories focus on the frequency of insurgent actions. Yet prior studies often treat these arguments additively, leaving unclear how structural and dynamic processes affect these different aspects of insurgency. This study addresses this division by using zero-inflated negative binomial regression to examine in a single equation both the presence and the count of Islamist insurgency in Egyptian governorates between 1986 and 1999. We test political economy, moral economy, and cultural clash explanations of the presence of insurgency alongside political dynamics arguments about repression and exclusion to explain the count of attacks. Looking at the structural side of this equation, we find that communities with high rates of poverty, child mortality, cultural conservatism in terms of low contraceptive prevalence, and greater urban density are more likely to support insurgency. Looking at the dynamic side, parliamentary exclusion, security sweeps, and executions affect the count of attacks along with spatial diffusion from neighboring governorates. The culturally conservative region of Upper Egypt, which has a history of social and political marginality and opposition, provided a seedbed of insurgent support but this challenge broke down over time as repression intensified and exclusion was relaxed. These findings underscore the point that the presence of and the intensity of insurgency are distinct and driven by different factors. There are notable methodological and theoretical advantages to distinguishing between presence and count to better understand when and where insurgencies develop and their level of collective action.
When coding events from media sources – as the majority of data projects do – different reports may oftentimes contain contradictory information. What do coders make of this? It is up to them to aggregate different reports into one coded event, and to supplement missing information based on other sources or their own background information. If not addressed properly, this may lead to a lack of replicability and to low reliability of the final data product. In this short article, we present an approach for separating (i) event reports and the information contained in them, and (ii) events, which are based on aggregate information from the reports and constitute the final data product. Our procedure preserves uncertainty arising from multiple reports and gives the user control over how missing and conflicting information should be dealt with. We illustrate our procedure with data from a current coding project, the Mass Mobilization in Autocracies Database (MMAD).
Common notions about the source of communal land conflict in Africa have long explained it as growing out of conditions of environmental scarcity. This article argues instead that the institutional structure of the legal system is central to understanding which countries are prone to experience communal land conflict. When competing customary and modern jurisdictions coexist in countries inhabited by mixed identity groups, the conflicting sources of legal authority lead to insecurity about which source of law will prevail. Because the source of law is contested, conflict parties cannot trust the legal system to predictably adjudicate disputes, which encourages the use of extrajudicial vigilante measures. Using new data on communal violence in West Africa, this argument is examined for the period 1990–2009. The results show that in countries where competing jurisdictions exist, communal land conflict is 200–350% more likely. These findings suggest that researchers should consider the role of legal institutions and processes in relation to social unrest and collective violence.
The term ‘hybrid’ has been widely incorporated into recent peacebuilding scholarship to describe an array of peacebuilding endeavors, including hybrid peacekeeping missions, hybrid criminal tribunals, hybrid governance, and the hybrid peace. However, while widely deployed, hybridity itself is under-theorized and variably applied by scholars. Major concerns arise, therefore, concerning the concept’s usefulness for peacebuilding theory, policy, and practice. Most problematically, while some scholars use hybridity descriptively to illustrate the mixing of international and local institutions, practices, rituals, and concepts, many today deploy hybridity prescriptively, implying that international actors can plan and administer hybridity to foster predictable social experiences in complex post-conflict states. This latter literature, therefore, assumes predictable relationships between the administration of hybrid institutions – of law, of governance, or of economics, for example – and the provision of peace-promoting local experiences of those institutions – experiences of justice, authority, empowerment, etc. This article argues that these assumptions are flawed and illustrates how a disaggregated theory of hybridity can avoid such errors. This theory distinguishes between four levels of hybridity – institutional, practical, ritual, and conceptual – characterized by their variable amenability to purposeful administration. The article illustrates how prescriptive approaches that assume direct and predictable relationships between institutions and experiences fail to recognize that concepts underpin local understandings and experiences of the world and, therefore, play a mediating role between institutions and experiences. Using examples from Sierra Leone, the article shows that while concepts are always hybrid, conceptual hybridity is inherently resistant to planned administration. As a result, internationally planned and administered hybrid institutions will not result in predictable experiences and may even result in negative or conflict-promoting experiences. The article illustrates the dangers of assuming any predictable relationships between the four levels of hybridity, and, therefore, between the administration of institutional hybrids and the predictable provision of positive local experiences.
This article presents an eclectic review of the analytical study of terrorism that views all agents as rational decisionmakers. This analytical literature began in earnest with the seminal study of US skyjackings by William Landes in 1978. After 11 September 2001, the analytical literature on terrorism grew rapidly. Based on policy relevance, my survey article identifies five key areas of intense research interests. These include analyses of terrorist attack trends, the economic consequences of terrorism, the study of counterterrorism effectiveness, the causes of terrorism, and the relationship of terrorism and liberal democracies. New developments in the field focused on distinguishing key differences between domestic and transnational terrorism. Additionally, recent game-theoretic advances permitted more active agents and stages to the games. Other major developments involved the study of networked terrorists and the role of counterterrorism foreign aid. Fruitful future directions include using advanced econometric methods to discern the true impact of terrorism on growth, applying spatial econometrics to the study of terrorism, ascertaining the determinants of terrorist groups’ longevity, and learning how to foster international counterterrorism cooperation.
This article presents the Konstanz One-Sided Violence Event Dataset (KOSVED) which allows researchers to study the dynamics of civilian abuse in 17 civil wars. The dataset provides, based on a multitude of sources, detailed information on the number of civilians killed or harmed by government or rebel troops. Where information is available, KOSVED also documents the dates of these events as well as the identities of the perpetrators and the means used in terrorizing the civilian population. The authors argue that the content analysis of news reports offers relatively accurate figures on those events that the perpetrators cannot hide from the public and that receive prominent media attention. Presumably, such information motivates potential short-term retaliatory acts by the group that has been the target of one-sided violence. The analysis suggests that, over the course of a conflict, almost all actors attack unarmed citizens, although to radically different degrees and relying on different means.
A rich literature addresses how a state’s capabilities, its desire to aid or exploit a warring neighbor, and its alliance commitments determine whether or not the state joins an ongoing conflict. However, an important geopolitical consideration – proximity to the location of the ongoing conflict – has yet to be examined. The authors argue that states are more likely to join conflicts that occur close to their territories than conflicts that are located at a greater distance, and that accounts that do not pay attention to this distance are incomplete. Proximity to the location of an ongoing conflict affects the opportunity for a state to join (by decreasing costs), while also affecting the state’s willingness to join (by increasing the potential threat to the state’s security). A series of statistical models provide evidence for the authors’ claims: a state’s opportunity to join and its willingness to aid or exploit a neighbor in conflict, or to fulfill its alliance commitments, are each conditioned by its proximity to the location of the conflict. This conditioning effect of dispute location is important because it helps account for cases that appear to contradict the expectations of existing arguments regarding capabilities, contiguity, and alliances – such as when weak, non-contiguous, and non-allied states join ongoing conflicts and strong, contiguous, and allied states do not join.
To what extent does the relative strength of a rebel movement impact upon the likelihood of a peace settlement in civil conflict? This article argues that relatively stronger rebels are more likely to overcome the strategic bargaining problems that can prevent the resolution of war. Relatively strong insurgents are better equipped to significantly challenge core government interests and fundamentally threaten the survival of a regime. The incumbent’s fear of future violence therefore makes mediation more likely to be undertaken in high-stakes conflicts between states and strong rebel groups. Relatively strong insurgencies are also those with the greatest leverage to negotiate enforcement mechanisms and the best equipped to defend themselves in the event that the government reneges on an agreement. This reduces the scale of the commitment problem and increases the probability of relatively strong rebel groups agreeing to a settlement with an incumbent. This argument is tested using dyadic data that capture the relative position of insurgents in civil war from 1946 to 2004. This represents an important methodological shift within the mediation literature, which has in the past largely relied upon aggregate country-level data. The results suggest that relatively stronger insurgents are more likely to force the state to open a mediation process and eventually concede some form of settlement. This is further evidence of the need to capture the dyadic relations between actors with fine-grained disaggregated data.
Theories of civil war highlight how relative power affects conflict onset, dynamics, strategy, outcome, and duration. Yet most studies of civil war have not been able to capture rebel power adequately and often rely on national-level characteristics to infer relative power distributions. This study addresses this shortcoming by using a troop strength measure to test arguments about how relative power affects the likelihood of civil conflict settlement. Drawing on the international crisis bargaining literature, while noting the inherent differences between interstate and intrastate conflicts, this study argues that the condition of power parity increases the likelihood of negotiated settlement and ceasefire. Weak rebels are unable to achieve concessions through negotiation since governments view them as minor threats. Yet governments have difficulty defeating weak rebels due to an emphasis on guerrilla warfare. On the other end of the spectrum, rebels that are superior to the government in strength are unlikely to settle given their power advantage. Strong rebels that can rival the strength of the government (i.e. they are near parity) can exact more concessions because fighting at parity exposes information about how long each side can hold out while escalating the costs of war, giving each side a greater incentive to negotiate and eventually seek a ceasefire or peace agreement. This argument is supported using data on 112 dyads in the post-Cold War period.
In order to explain why successes of economic sanctions predominantly occur in the first two years of a sanction episode, we analyse the dynamic economic and political impact of an economic sanction. Our theoretical analysis of the dynamics of adjustment gives us two important results: firstly, the strongest impact in terms of utility forgone occurs in the initial phase of the sanction episode and, secondly, the long-term gain of compliance decreases during a sanction episode and is lower in the long run than acknowledged by the usual comparative static analysis. On both accounts we expect that sanctions have a higher probability of success in the early phase and a lower probability of success in the long run. Next we build a comprehensive set of vector autoregressive (VAR) models that we apply to the case of a boycott of Iranian oil. An important innovation is that we include both economic and political factors in a VAR model of economic sanctions. Our VAR models find significant impacts of economic sanctions both on key economic variables (government consumption, imports, investment, income) and on two indicators of the political system (the Polity variable that describes shifts in the autocracy–democracy dimension and the Vanhanen Index of Democratization that describes political competition and participation). The impact of an oil boycott on the Iranian economy is considerable: oil and gas rents are important drivers of the Iranian key macroeconomic variables and ultimately of its political system. A reduction of oil and gas rents creates economic costs that act as incentives to move towards a more democratic setting. However, this effect is only significant in the first two years and turns negative after six to seven years, as adjustment of economic structures mitigates the economic and political impact of the sanctions.
When World War II ended in Italy, the violence did not. During the following year, about 10,000 individuals were summarily executed. Why does armed violence continue after a war’s end? Why do the victors kill the vanquished enemies? Why do they do so in certain places but not in others? We do not have sufficiently satisfying answers to these questions. The literature makes sense of violence if it happens during or preceding an armed conflict, but overlooks it when it occurs after the war is over. We need to fill this gap. Not only does post-conflict violence merit consideration as a phenomenon in itself but also it is crucial to understand postwar politics. The structured comparison of two provinces in Italy at the end of WWII shows that existing explanations cannot fully account for the spatial variation of the killings there. I offer an alternative argument: post-conflict violence aims to influence a country’s political future. In post-WWII Italy, the strategic calculations and the political preferences of former resistance combatants, combined with the legacy of the past war, determined the variation in the killings. Historical cases are a major untapped source of theory-building in conflict and peace studies. The micro-level dynamics generating violence at the local level often follow similar patterns across space and time. Thus, understanding extrajudicial executions in post-WWII Italy can illuminate today’s international intervention strategies addressing similar patterns of violence in different post-conflict settings.
Multidimensional peacekeeping has drawn the United Nations (UN) into state-building, and missions have taken on significant responsibilities for good governance. Since it aims at transforming states from fragile post-conflict situations into inclusive, well-governed societies, multidimensional peacekeeping is more complex and arguably also more contentious than traditional peacekeeping. Multidimensional peacekeeping affects the balance of power between the government and rebels and provides them with opportunities for rent-seeking. Although the potential gains are obvious, the process is bound to lead to uncertainty and controversy. Whereas the international community mainly appreciates the opportunity of comprehensive peacekeeping to create value, local actors may be more concerned with opportunities for claiming value. What will be the responses of local actors to peacekeeping given the likely impact on the distribution of power between rebels and governments and their uneven opportunities to benefit from collaborating? Using event data for post-Cold War UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, the analysis considers when peacekeeping elicits cooperation rather than conflict, focusing on (a) the authorities involved in the event, (b) the policies implemented, and (c) the role of the peacekeepers. Key findings are that government authorities are more likely to respond cooperatively to peacekeeping actions, while rebels are more likely to respond with hostility. Both the government and rebels are unlikely to contest policies that aim to strengthen state capacity, while both are more likely to contest human rights policies. Finally, rebels tend to respond more cooperatively when peacekeepers have a mainly supportive role.
Multiple studies argue that the division of territory between states is a root cause of war in the international system. This is often understood as a function of the unique importance of territory at the level of the individual citizen, because the territory itself directly affects an individual’s well-being on multiple dimensions. As such, disputes over territory should also have consequences for an individual’s overall subjective appraisal of their well-being. This article argues that disputes over the allocation of territory between states do affect an individual’s subjective well-being, but not uniformly. Citizens in states routinely targeted by a territorial threat from a revisionist neighbor are generally unhappy. However, citizens in states that initiate territorial disputes are happier as a result of the aggressive foreign policy of the state leader to secure the coveted territorial good. This is first demonstrated using mixed effects modeling on data drawn from the World Values Survey and Correlates of War Militarized Interstate Dispute dataset. In addition, this article provides an illustration of variations in territorial threat and subjective well-being using the case of Nigeria, finding that Nigerians were happier when their state was initiating territorial threat against its neighbors and less happy during a period when Nigeria itself was the target of territorial threat. The analyses provided advance the territorial conflict research program by measuring the individual-level effects of territorial disputes. In addition, the findings add to a growing scholarship on the political determinants of an individual quality of life, sometimes considered the ‘ultimate dependent variable’ in social science.