Patterns of Force: System Strength, Terrorism and Civil War
We jointly analyze the genesis of terrorism and civil war, providing a simple conceptual framework to explain why violent opposition groups choose distinct forms of violence (i.e., terrorism and open rebellion). We argue that the distinct modes of violent opposition are chosen by violent opposition groups in response to the strengths and weaknesses of the system they challenge. An empirical test of this hypothesis for 103 countries for the period of 1992 to 2004 indeed shows that the socio-economic strength and stability of a system is positively related to the likelihood of terrorism but negatively to incidences of more violent forms of violent opposition. We also show that poor conflict management (as a system weakness) positively impacts the likelihood incidences of more violent modes of violent opposition more likely. Furthermore, we find that system size is positively associated with all analyzed modes of violent opposition.
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