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Modeling Two Types of Peace: The Zero-inflated Ordered Probit (ZiOP) Model in Conflict Research

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Journal of Conflict Resolution

Published online on


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.