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Democratization and civil war: Empirical evidence

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Author Info

  • Lars-Erik Cederman

    ()
    (Center for Comparative and International Studies ETH Zurich)

  • Simon Hug

    (Department of Political Science, University of Geneva & Centre for the Study of Civil War, Peace Research Institute, Oslo, PRIO)

  • Lutz F. Krebs

    (Center for Comparative and International Studies ETH Zurich)

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    Abstract

    The hypothesis that democratization triggers political violence has been proposed repeatedly in the quantitative literature, but it remains controversial with respect to both interstate and civil wars. Current empirical research continues to be afflicted by methodological and data problems related to the measurement of democracy and the task of detecting changes in such scores. In order to gain further clarity into the link between democratization and civil war, the current study introduces a new period-finding algorithm that is able to detect periods of democratization and autocratization. This allows for a more flexible way of finding directional changes in governance indicators than is possible with the rigid lagstructures commonly employed in previous studies. When regressed on various measures of civil-war onset, the indicator for the initiation of a period of democratization has a strong and robust effect on conflict even in the presence of static measures of regime type. The same applies to autocratization, but its impact is much more sudden than that of democratization. Moreover, we find that the democratization effect is limited to govemmental rather than territorial conflicts. Further research will be needed to confirm these results in terms of the relevant causal mechanisms, especially in ethno-nationalist civil wars.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Peace Research Institute Oslo in its journal Journal of Peace Research.

    Volume (Year): 47 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (July)
    Pages: 377-394

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:4:p:377-394

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    Web page: http://www.prio.no/

    Related research

    Keywords: civil wars; democratic peace; democratization;

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    Cited by:
    1. Cervellati, Matteo & Fortunato, Piergiuseppe & Sunde, Uwe, 2014. "Violence during democratization and the quality of democratic institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 226-247.
    2. Cervellati, Matteo & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Democratization, Violent Social Conflicts, and Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 5643, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Cervellati, Matteo & Fortunato, Piergiuseppe & Sunde, Uwe, 2011. "Democratization and Civil Liberties: The Role of Violence During the Transition," Economics Working Paper Series 1108, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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