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Transnational Dimensions of Civil War


  • Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

    (Department of Government, University of Essex & Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO,


Existing research has related civil war primarily to country-specific factors or processes that take place within individual states experiencing conflict. Many contemporary civil wars, however, display a transnational character, where actors, resources, and events span national boundaries. This article challenges the 'closed polity' approach to the study of civil war, where individual states are treated as independent entities, and posits that transnational factors and linkages between states can exert strong influences on the risk of violent civil conflict. Previous research has shown that conflicts in a state's regional context can increase the risk of conflict, but the research has not distinguished between different varieties of transnational linkages that may underlie geographic contagion, and it has failed to consider the potential influences of domestic attributes. The article develops and evaluates a series of hypotheses on how transnational factors can influence the risk of conflict and the prospects for maintaining peace in a conditional autologistic model, including country-specific factors often associated with civil wars. The results suggest that transnational linkages between states and regional factors strongly influence the risk of civil conflict. This, in turn, implies that the risk of civil war is not determined just by a country's internal or domestic characteristics, but differs fundamentally, depending on a country's linkages to other states.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, 2007. "Transnational Dimensions of Civil War," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 44(3), pages 293-309, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:44:y:2007:i:3:p:293-309

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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2009. "Civil War: A Review of Fifty Years of Research," Working Papers id:2231, eSocialSciences.
    2. Silve, Arthur & Verdier, Thierry, 2018. "A theory of regional conflict complexes," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 434-447.
    3. van der Maat Eelco, 2014. "A Typology of Mass Political Violence," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(4), pages 1-11, December.
    4. Carmignani, Fabrizio & Kler, Parvinder, 2016. "The geographical spillover of armed conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 109-119.
    5. Massimiliano Calì & Alen Mulabdic, 2017. "Trade and civil conflict: Revisiting the cross-country evidence," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 195-232, February.
    6. Carmignani, Fabrizio & Kler, Parvinder, 2016. "Surrounded by wars: Quantifying the role of spatial conflict spillovers," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 7-16.
    7. Abu-Bader, Suleiman & Ianchovichina, Elena, 2019. "Polarization, foreign military intervention, and civil conflict," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    8. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
    9. Almohad, Selman, 2019. "Bringing regional politics to the study of security sector reform: Army reform in Sierra Leone and Iraq," GIGA Working Papers 319, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    10. Zhukov, Yuri M., 2016. "Trading hard hats for combat helmets: The economics of rebellion in eastern Ukraine," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-15.
    11. Brast, Benjamin, 2017. "Liberal Statebuilding Interventions and the Monopoly on Violence," SocArXiv yqk9v, Center for Open Science.
    12. Christophe Muller & Pierre Pecher, 2018. "Transborder Ethnic Kin and Local Prosperity: Evidence form Night-Time Light Intensity in Africa," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2018006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    13. Schudel, Willem, 2015. "Shifting horizons: assessing macro trends before, during, and following systemic banking crises," Working Paper Series 1766, European Central Bank.
    14. Carmignani, Fabrizio & Kler, Parvinder, 2018. "Your war, my problem: How conflict in a neighbour country hurts domestic development," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 484-495.
    15. Wong, P-H., 2014. "Insurgents in motion: Counterinsurgency and insurgency relocation in Iraq," MERIT Working Papers 2014-045, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    16. Fabrizio Carmignani & Parvinder Kler, 2017. "The spillover of war in time and space: exploring some open issues," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(3), pages 273-288, January.
    17. Mukherjee, Shivaji, 2018. "Historical legacies of colonial indirect rule: Princely states and Maoist insurgency in central India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 113-129.
    18. Yuri M. Zhukov & Charles H. Anderton & Jurgen Brauer, "undated". "On the Logistics of Violence," Working Paper 255276, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    19. Martínez, Luis R., 2017. "Transnational insurgents: Evidence from Colombia's FARC at the border with Chávez's Venezuela," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 138-153.

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