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Explaining Post-Cold-War Civil Conflict among 17 Billion Models: The Importance of History and Religion

Author

Listed:
  • Jetter, Michael

    () (University of Western Australia)

  • Mahmood, Rafat

    () (University of Western Australia)

  • Parmeter, Christopher F.

    () (University of Miami)

  • Ramirez Hassan, Andres

    () (Universidad EAFIT)

Abstract

Model uncertainty remains a persistent concern when exploring the drivers of civil conflict and civil war. Considering a comprehensive set of 34 potential determinants in 175 post-Cold-War countries (covering 98.2% of the world population), we employ stochastic search variable selection (SSVS) to sort through all 234 possible models. Looking across both cross-sectional and panel data, three robust results emerge. First, past conflict constitutes the most powerful predictor of current conflict: path dependency matters. Second, larger shares of Jewish, Muslim, or Christian citizens are associated with increased chances of conflict incidence and onset - a result that is independent of religious fractionalization, polarization, and dominance. Third, economic and political factors remain less relevant than colonial origin and religion. These results lend credence to several existing schools of thought on civil conflict and provide new avenues for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Jetter, Michael & Mahmood, Rafat & Parmeter, Christopher F. & Ramirez Hassan, Andres, 2020. "Explaining Post-Cold-War Civil Conflict among 17 Billion Models: The Importance of History and Religion," IZA Discussion Papers 13511, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13511
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    civil conflict; civil war; stochastic search variable selection (SSVS); greed versus grievances; religion and conflict;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism

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