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Do Ethnic and Nonethnic Civil Wars Have the Same Causes?

: A Theoretical and Empirical Inquiry (Part 1) Author(s): Nicholas Sambanis Source: The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 45, No. 3 (Jun., 2001), pp. 259-282 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Stable URL: . Accessed: 01/07/2011 12:27
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Do Ethnic and Nonethnic Civil Wars Have the Same Causes?



A booming quantitativeliteratureon large-scale political violence has identifiedimportanteconomic of has and political determinants civil war.Thatliterature treatedcivil war as an aggregatecategoryandhas not consideredif identity (ethnic/religious)wars have differentcauses than nonidentitywars. The author distinctionandthatidentitywarsaredue predominantly politicalgrievance to arguesthatthis is an important Ethnic heterogeneityis also associateddifferentlywith identity ratherthan lack of economic opportunity. thannonidentitywars. Some systemic variablesarealso important of determinants civil war,andthese have new resultis thatliving in a bad neighborhood,with been neglected in the existing literature. important An undemocratic neighborsor neighborsat war,significantlyincreasesa country'sriskof experiencingethnic civil war.

wisdom suggeststhateach waris as difNot all civil warsarethe same. Conventional ferent as the society that producedit. However,broadcomparisonsamong different warsarepossible andcan lead to the design of policy to bettermanageorpreventthose wars.As we undertake further to studyof the causes of civil war,it is important know if our conclusions apply equally to wars of differenttypes. A wave of theoreticaland empirical research has recently helped identify importanteconomic and political of determinants civil waronset andprevalence.However,commonto all these studies is the practiceof aggregating civil warsin a single category.'By contrast,some studies of war termination have identified substantive differences between ethnic and nonethnic or revolutionarywars (Doyle and Sambanis2000; Licklider 1995). This studyis the firsteffortto systematicallyanalyzeanydifferencesthatmay exist between the causes of identity (ethnic/religious)and nonidentitycivil wars.
1. See Collier and Hoeffler (1998, 2000), Ellingsen (1999), and Hegre et al. (1999). AUTHOR'S NOTE:I thankNathanielBeck, Michael Doyle, JamesFearon,Ted RobertGurr,Jeffrey Herbst,and PatrickRegan for theircommentsand suggestions,which significantlyimprovedthe qualityof this study.This articleis the firstof a four-part studyon the topic of ethnicviolence. It is also partof a World Bank project on "The Economics of Criminaland Political Violence." The opinions expressed are the author'sand do not representthe WorldBank, its executive directors,or the countriesthat they represent. JOURNAL CONFLICT OF Vol. 2001259-282 RESOLUTION, 45 No. 3, June ? 2001SagePublications




This is the firstof a four-part civil study on the causes of ethnic and revolutionary on war.In this article,I focus on the onset of waranddrawon a largeliterature ethnicity and ethnic conflict to develop testablehypotheseson the causes of identity wars and or explain why these may differfromthe causes of revolutionary othertypes of war.I test these hypothesesempirically,using a new dataset thatI compiledof 161 countries observed annually over a 40-year period. I also try to integrate economic theories of civil war with the core theories of international relations-neorealism and model that considers the neoliberalism-by developing a parsimoniousquantitative of identities and interestsin a geopolitical context-that is, by analyzingthe impact contagion,or impactof systemic variables(the cold war,regionallevels of democracy, diffusion effects of a war in a neighboringcountry)in conjunctionwith the impactof of domesticdeterminants waroutcomes(especiallylevels of democracyandeconomic and the degree of ethnic heterogeneityand the country'swar history). development relations I findevidence of some systemiceffects, which suggeststhatinternational theoriesare relevantin explainingpatternsof civil war.This study representsthe first effort to integratethese theories into large-Nquantitativestudies of civil war. I also find,in contrastto economic theoriesof civil war,thatthelack of democracyis a significant predictorof the onset of ethnic civil war. Finally, I find a positive association between the level of ethnic heterogeneityand the onset of ethnic civil war, whereas other studies have found that relationshipto be either nonsignificantor parabolic warsaccordingto wartype). These conclusionssug(these studiesdo notdisaggregate gest that importantdifferencesdo exist between ethnic/religious(identity) and nonidentitywars.We shouldtakethese differencesinto accountwhen designingpolicy to preventor terminatecivil wars. Threeextensionsof this studycannotbe presentedhere.First,I conducta technical analysis (extremeboundsanalysisand/orotherrobustnesstests) to test the robustness studies of civil war.I use difof my conclusions andthe findingsof otherquantitative measuresof key ferentclassificationsanddefinitionsof ethniccivil warandalternative variablesused in this study.Theserobustnessandspecificationtests make explanatory the analysis too technical and lengthy,and the results are relegatedto a forthcoming article. Second, I analyze the concept of ethnic war prevalenceand discuss proper ways to estimate it using the same data set. The coding of the dependentvariablein studiesof prevalenceandthe estimationmethodsdiffermarkedlyfromthe coding and methods used in a study of war onset. Existing studies of war prevalencein political science (e.g., Elbadawiand Sambanis2001) use estimationmethods that implicitly assume that the risk of war initiationis equal to the risk of war continuation.This assumptionmay not be problematicundersome conditionsandmodel specifications, but it is also importantto check the applicabilityof differentestimatorsthat may be more applicableto this researchquestion.This articleis forthcomingandhas substantive implicationsfor the discussionon differencesbetweenethnicandnonethnicwars. Third,in anotherstudy,I drawon the empiricalevidencepresentedin otherpartsof my to studyon ethnicwar,andI reviewthe case studyliterature developa set of criteriafor a moretransparent coding of civil warsaccordingto type. I discuss ambiguouscases at some length and provide a new classificationof post-WorldWarII civil wars.


I begin in the next section with a discussion of the theoreticalbasis for the distinction between identity (ethnic and religious) and nonidentitywars. I then proceed to develop the theoreticalfoundationfrom which I derive testable hypotheses on the causes of ethniccivil wars.I tryto integrate politicaltheoriesof ethnicconflict with the new economic theoriesof civil war.I describethe dataset andbriefly discuss the estimation methods. I discuss empirical results, highlighting important differences between ethnic andrevolutionary war,andconcludewith a discussion of futuredirections for this research.

THEORETICAL DISTINCTION BETWEEN IDENTITY AND NONIDENTITY WARS The first step in uncoveringsystematicdifferencesbetween ethnic and nonethnic wars is to define these categoriesclearly.A naturalpoint from which to begin is the definitionof ethnicity.In his seminalworkon ethnicconflict, Horowitz(1985, 17-18) explained, whether indicum color, the Ethnic are is differences, by groups defined ascriptive appearsomeother indicator common of or ance,language, religion, origin, somecombination of thereof.... Thisis aninclusive [that concept ethnicity facilitates] comparison. Ethnicity is closeto MaxWeber's of descent"...ethbelief'in "common conception a "subjective differentiated color, and it "tribes," by nicityembraces language, religion; covers groups "nationalities," casts.(P.53) and "races," ethnicwaras waramongcomDrawingon this definitionof ethnicity,I understand munities (ethnicities) that are in conflict over the power relationship that exists between those communitiesandthe state. Kaufman(1996, 138) also used this definition to arguethat in civil communities ethnic conflicts irreconcilable of hold visions theidentity, opposing of a and all borders, citizenship thestate. Theydonotseekto control statewhoseidentity to or but sidesaccept, rather redefine dividethestateitself. shouldbe classified as However,not all warsthatinvolveethnicgroupsas combatants The ethnicwars.2 issues at the core of the conflictmustbe integralto the conceptof eth2. An exampleof a similardichotomyis FearonandLaitin's(1999, 2) between"warsof secession or In autonomy"and "violent contests over a recognized state apparatus." this study, I refer to all nonethnic and wars as "revolutionary other"wars;this categoryincludesthe warsthatFearonandLaitin(2000) called Warsaimedatsecuringpowerfora new elite or the acquisitionof "violentcontests"over the stateapparatus. controlof economic resourcesterritories coded as nonethnicwars for the most part.The differentiating are componentbetween my two categoriesis the role of ethnicityas a cause of the conflict.



nicity as definedabove. In coding wartype, I rely heavily on the statefailureproject's coding, which defines ethnic wars as
and episodes of violent conflictbetweengovernments national,ethnic,religious,or other communalminorities(ethnicchallengers)in which the challengersseek majorchanges in their status.... Rioting and warfarebetween rivalcommunalgroupsis not coded as ethnic warfareunless it involves conflict over political power or governmentpolicy.3

In most cases, I follow the state failureproject'scoding. In ambiguouscases, where other scholars have coded the war differently,I rely on the coding of Doyle and Sambanis(2000). To code anethniccivil war,we mustfirstobservea civil war(i.e., not all violent ethnic conflict should be coded as a civil war). Here, the coding used in the state failure projectdiffers substantiallyfrom that used in other studies.4My coding of civil war events follows Doyle and Sambanis(2000) and combines warevents from the Correlates of Wardata set (Singer and Small 1994a, 1994b), Wallensteenand Sollenberg (1997), and the state failureproject.5I code a war event if (1) there were more than deathsduringthe entirewarandin at least a single year of the war,6 1,000 war-related the war challengedthe sovereigntyof an internationally (2) recognized state, (3) the occurredwithin the territoryof that state, (4) the state was one of the principal war combatants,and (5) the rebels were able to mountan organizedmilitaryoppositionto the state.

TOWARDAN INTEGRATED THEORY OF ETHNIC CIVIL WAR There are several theoretical perspectives on the causes of ethnic violence.7 Primordialists view ethnicity as an exceptionally strong affiliation that charges interethnicinteractionswith the potential for violence. Believers in ancient group
In 3. See the references,the state failureprojectis listed as Esty et al. (1997). 4. The statefailureprojectuses a minimumthresholdof 100 fatalitiesperyearto code an ethniccondefinitionof warconsistentwith the flict. I have adjustedthe datesof these events to reflecta morestandard Doyle and Sambanis(2000) definition. 5. Sources used to code war events are listed in the online supplementto this article:http://www. thresholdfor 6. Most of these conflicts haveproduced1,000 deathsannually,andthis is the preferred classificationof a conflict as a civil war in the Singerand Small (1994a) and UppsalaUniversityprojects. for Consortium Politicaland Social Research(ICPSR)study, However,the codebookof the Interuniversity and which includesthe international civil wardatafiles, does not mentionan annualdeaththreshold(rather, of this is mentionedin SingerandSmall 1982), andno annualdeathdataareavailablefor the Correlates War project.Thus, in my list of civil wars, I have includeda small numberof conflicts thatmay not necessarily have caused 1,000 deathsannually,but they producedmorethan 1,000 deathsin any single year of the war of and more than 1,000 for the duration the war,as well as morethan200 deathsper year for all otheryears or (i.e., the conflict must have been classified as an intermediate- low-intensityarmedconflict by another data set if it did not cause more than 1,000 deathsper year for the entireperiod). 7. For a review of these perspectives,see Horowitz(1985).



hatredarguethat ethnic conflict is rooted in old sources of enmity and memories of past atrocitiesthat make violence hardto avoid. Proponentsof primordialsociality theoryarguethatthe strengthof kinshipties promotesaltruismin favorof the genetic evolution of the group. The clash of cultures (or civilizations) theory suggests that irreconcilabledifferencesdue to culturalgaps cause fear and conflict that beget violence. Fearis also at the heartof the theoryof the ethnic securitydilemma,which suggests that territorialintermingling and mutual vulnerabilityexacerbate assurance problemsthatmay lead to preventivewarsby ethnicminoritieswho wantto secede to increasetheirsecurity.Modernization may also cause conflict as economic and social can accelerate and intensify group competition for scarce resources. This change relevantwhen class cleavages and ethnic cleavages explanationmay be particularly ethnic conflict may be the resultof mobilizationof ethnic groupsby overlap.Finally, or ethnic entrepreneurs elites pursuingprivateinterestsand capitalizingon the availof ethnic networks(i.e., ethnicallydefinedgroupsthatreducetransaction costs ability with respectto the enforcementof contracts).Elites may also socially anduncertainty constructethnic identitiesor reinforceracial,religious, or linguisticcleavages in such a way as to producenew sources of frictionand conflict. Although none of these perspectivescan fully explain the causes of every ethnic war,each can shed light on one or more wars.Together, they all sharea convictionthat ethnicity is a critical variablein explainingcivil violence. Theories of international relations-neorealism andneoliberalism-are not fully capableof explainingthe particularitiesof ethnic civil war.Neorealismis betterat explainingwar dynamics once war occurs but cannotexplain why ethnic divisions occur in the firstplace within the statebecause neorealiststypically assumethatthe stateis a unitaryactor.Statefailure anarchy,so neorealism-with its focus on the implicationsof parallelsinternational anarchy-is relevantin explainingsystemic influenceson patternsof civil war.However,neorealismcannotexplainthe role of ethnicdivisions in the collapse of the state, and anarchyis an endogenousoutcomein the case of civil war,not a preexistingstructural condition. Furthermore, neorealism cannot explain the role of leadership in ethnic groups.Finally, accordingto some neorealistswho believe in the mobilizing stabilityof bipolarsystems, the end of the cold warbipolarsystem would be expected to cause an upsurgein internalconflict. Neoliberalism,by contrast,would not necessarily see the end of the cold war as a catalystfor domestic conflict and would focus more on the role of domestic institutionsas variablesthat might explain patternsof internalwar.Neoliberalismis betterableto explainwhy warbreaksout or how warcan be preventedby cultivatingpolitical institutionsthatincreasegovernmentlegitimacy anddefuse the potentialfor violence due to ethnicconflict. It is also a theorythatlends itself to a betterunderstanding the role of nonstateethnic networksas well as the of and affective motives in ethnic conflict. Neoliberalismalso explains the ideological importanceof economic motives in civil warbecauseneorealism'shierarchyof interests would limit its focus to securitymotivesas causes of civil war.Thus,it is important to borrowfrom these international relations(IR) theoriesa concernwith systemic and international variablesand to integratethese with the varioustheories of ethnic conflict surveyedpreviously.



The commonalitiesof these theoreticalperspectivescan be usefully combinedin a theory of ethnic civil war that enriches the economic theories of civil violence that in haverecentlybeen formulated influentialstudiesby CollierandHoeffler(2000) and Fearon and Laitin (2000). These economic theories view war as the outcome of an expected utility calculation:potentialrebels evaluatetheir expected gains from war, given their grievances,and comparethese expected gains with the expected losses, costs of forgoingproductiveeconomic activity.Rebelwhich include the opportunity lion is therefore a rational decision. What determines whether rebellion will be which dependson the mateobservedis the financialviabilityof a rebel organization, rialbenefitsof rebellion.Warring partiesareassumedto be rationalthoughnot infallible, war is assumedto generateprivateand public gains and losses that are unevenly distributedamong the parties,and privategains explain why war may be rationalfor some groupswhen it is collectively irrational. Collier and Hoeffler (2000) drew from an insightfulsmall economic literatureon to rebellion8 model the demandfor rebellaboras the outcomeof underlyinggrievance andthe supply of rebel laboras the resultof an expectedutility calculationof the economic costs and benefitsof rebellion.As per capitaincome rises and the taxablebase increases, the opportunitycosts of rebellionalso increase, as does the government's abilityto defenditself. At the same time, the greaterthe tax base, the greaterthe potential economic gain fromrebellion,which shouldincreasethe expectedutility of rebelof lion. Financialsupportfrom diasporasand an abundance lootable resourcesfaciliincrease the probabilityof rebel victory. tate the financing of rebel movementsand Finally, there are transactionand coordinationcosts to rebellion, which the authors (ELF).Following muchof the proxy by the degreeof ethnolinguisticfractionalization literature on ethnicity and kinship, they argue that ethnic kin groups facilitate within-groupcoordinationand hindercross-groupcoordination.Thus, they hypotheas for size thatcoordination rebellionis easierat low levels of ELFandbecomes harder increases.Thus,the authorsarguethatthe morediversea societhnicfractionalization ety, the less likely it is to experiencea civil war.9 Fearon and Laitin (2000) also argued that the determinantsof insurgency are mainlyeconomic andnotpolitical.Theytest the empiricalfit of theirtheoreticalmodel and find thatprimordialism, nationalism,andculturalor civilizationalcleavages have of no explanatory poweras determinants civil warmagnitudeorprevalence.Theycondetertradictneoliberaltheoryby arguingthatlack of democracyis not an important minantof warprevalenceonce they controlfor the level of economic developmentand of economic growth,whichthey findto be the most salientdeterminants civil warprevalence.FearonandLaitinconsideredeconomicdevelopment(whichtheymeasuredby cost percapitaincome) as a proxyfor (1) the economic opportunity of rebellionand(2) the level of resourcesandrelativecompetenceof the state;in bothways, a higherlevel of economic developmentshouldreducethe riskof civil war.Theyalso arguethatcivil
8. Their model drawson Azam (1995), Grossman(1995), and Hirschleifer(1987). 9. Otherauthors(e.g., Elbadawiand Sambanis2000) find thatethnicdiversityhas aparabolicassociof ationwith the overallamount(prevalence)of civil warandthattheprobability observingan event of civil war is highest in ethnicallypolarizedsocieties.


costs arelow andthatlack of democracy warwill occurwhen its economic opportunity are and ethnic fragmentation nonsignificantcorrelatesof war. The new economic theoriesof civil wardo not considerif differentwartypes have differentcauses, and theirresearchdesigns, which aggregateall civil wars in a single category,implicitly suggest thatthereare no such differences.In what follows, I will drawon the theoriesof ethnicconflict surveyedpreviouslyandIR theorymore generally to developtestablehypothesesthatwill lead to a more systematictest of the differences betweenwartype andquestionthe applicabilityof the economic theoriesof civil war to the subset of ethnic civil wars. I begin by consideringthe significanceof the degreeof ethnicfragmentation hetor we expect thatvariableto behavesimilarlyin cases of ethnic and erogeneity-should nonethnicwar?My firsthypothesisis the following: of war be 1: function thedegree of of Hypothesis Theprobability ethnic should anincreasing ethnicheterogeneity. as Collier andHoeffler(2000) used the conceptof ethnicfragmentation a proxy for the coordinationcosts of a rebellion.They arguethatthe greaterthe ethnicfragmentacosts andthe lowerthe riskof onset of civil war.They tion, the greaterthe coordination evidence that ELF is actually not a significantdeterminantof the present empirical onset of civil war and thatethnic dominanceis actuallyharmfulbecause it allows an ethnic group to oppress the minorityand significantlyincreases the risk of onset of civil war. Elbadawi and Sambanis(2001) found a significantparabolicrelationship and between ethnic fragmentation the prevalenceof civil war,which lends supportto Collier andHoeffler,butthis analysiscombinesthe conceptsof waronset andduration andshouldnot be contrasted directlywith the findingson waronset.FearonandLaitin on prevalenceandconflict magnitude,foundno evidence of a signifi(2000), focusing cant association between civil war risk and the degree of ethnic heterogeneity. These studies do not ask if we should expect ethnic diversity to have the same is impacton all types of civil war.If ethnicfragmentation a proxy for the coordination and transactioncosts that are associated with mounting a rebellion, then we would expect these costs to be lower or nonexistentin rebellionsthataremountedby a single ethnic group aimed at satisfying demands/grievances that grouponly. Such rebelof lions are closer to my definition of ethnic war rather than revolution or other war.It follows thatethnic war should be less costly to organizethan resource-driven revolutions,which supportsmy hypothesis. The inverse U-shaped relationshipthat exists between civil wars definedbroadlyand ethnic heterogeneityneed not hold for ethnic civil wars because greaterethnic fragmentation need not discouragea single ethnic group from mounting a rebellion.'1The costs of coordinatingacross ethnic groups-which, if high, could discourageideology-basedrevolutionsthatareproneto collective action problems-are not relevantif the war is mountedby a single group
10. It is assumedthatethnic groupswill be largeenough to supplyrebel labor.Rebel groupsare typically small, which implies thateven ethnic groupswith a very small percentageof the total populationcan produceand sustain a rebel movement.



betweenethnicwarandethnicdivifor the benefitof thatgroup.Thus,therelationship sions should be linear and positive."l So, contraryto the economic theoryof civil war,I would expect thatethnic heteroof geneity should be amongthe most significantandrobustdeterminants the onset of of ethnicwar.Drawingon Horowitz(1985, 42-49), I arguethatno single attribute eththananyotherin determining groupcohesion. Previous nicity need be moreimportant on studies have focused disproportionately linguistic differences,and this may have biased their findings. In this study,I use a more inclusive definitionof ethnicity that combines racial,linguistic, and religious heterogeneityin a single index. This allows morefully to the conceptof me to test my hypothesisusing a measurethatcorresponds sharedby many theoristsof ethnic conflict. ethnicity betweencivil violence, democracy,andpovertyor Next, I considerthe relationship the economic theoristsof civil war,I hypothesizethat underdevelopment. Following costs arealso relevantin ethnicwar:the greaterthese costs, the economic opportunity lower the likelihood of civil war.However,theoristsof ethnic conflict have not been betweeneconomic antagonismandethable to identify a straightforward relationship nic conflict. Accordingto Horowitz(1985, 134-35), of at conflict thetopthan thebottom at more much about Economic antagonism explains interest waysthatmight in of societies.Beyond that,thepursuit economic developing features ethnic of is itself.... conflict actually leadtoethnic pluralism impeded certain by economictheoriescannotexplainthe extentof the emotion Muchmoreobviously, for leaveunexplained striving the in theories conflict. materialist invested ethnic Finally, in the country," "the and a suchgoalsas domination autonomy), "legitimate (or place over in interest develof all symbols prestige," of whichmaytakeprecedence economic behavior. opinggroup Although povertyand low levels of economic developmentcould increaseethnic conflict as they wouldothertypes of conflict, ethnicityis a conceptmuchmoreclosely associated with political and cultural identity than with economic rights or class-hence the absence of class-basedtheoriesof ethnic conflict. Thus, one might and expect a weakerrelationshipbetween poverty/underdevelopment ethnic war. in the case of ethnic war, the rebels' motives are typically not simply Moreover, economic. If ethnicwaris definedas a struggleoverthe survivalof ethnicidentity,one would expect thatrebels care more aboutchanges thatarelikely to protecttheiridentity. Such changes are typically political and not economic. Although the economic cost should still be relevant,it should be less importantin wars logic of opportunity the thatthreaten survivalof ethnicidentity.In suchwars,individualandgroupinterests coincide, and rebels derive utility from preservingthe group's culturalidentity and political freedom. A desire to preserve one's ethnic identity may therefore lead a potentialrebel who might otherwiserequirethe promiseof loot to fight a warto offer his or her rebel laborfor free. This mighthelp explainwhy we have observedsome of
11. The mobilizationbase for ethnicwar is clear and definedby ethnic identities,which are usually and defined, improvingthe ease of coordinationof an ethnic rebellion (see transparent often territorially Kaufmann1996, 140).


the longest or moreintenseethnicwarsin countrieswith relativelyhigherstandards of living anddevelopmentas comparedwith the averageof all countriesthathaveexperienced a civil war(e.g., Israel,Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia,Cyprus).The protectionof ethnic identity is much more closely associated with protectingpolitical rights and democracythanwith economic gain. Ethnicgrievanceis likely to be exacsupporting erbatedby the lack of politicalandcivil rights,collapsingmechanismsfor the peaceful diverseethnic identities within a adjudicationof disputes,and an inabilityto nurture culturaland political system. Greaterdemocracyratherthan greatereconomic given opportunityshould have a more significantimpact on issues at the core of ethnicity (i.e., preservingregionalautonomy,linguisticeducationrights,ethnicrepresentation, or religious freedom). I would thereforeexpect the lack of democracyto be a more of robustlysignificantdeterminant ethniccivil warthanthe lack of economic development. In this sense, I agreewith neoliberaltheoristswho conceive of democraticinstitutions as offering solutions to defuse ethnic conflict and preventits escalation to large-scaleviolence. Survivalof ethnicidentityhasutilityin itself andcan explainwhy membersof an ethnicgroupwouldoffer free laborto the rebellionas economic opportunitycosts areoutweighedby the higherexpectedcosts of suppressionof ethnicidentity.I wouldthereforeexpectpoliticalvariablesto be muchmorerobustandsignificant of determinants ethnicwarthaneconomic variables.12This reasoningleads me to state two more testablehypotheses: 2: levelsof economic should reduce riskof ethnic the civil development Hypothesis Greater the costs warby raising economic opportunity of violence. and 3: of should raise significantly substantially theprobability Hypothesis Lack democracy
of ethnic civil war because it threatensthe core of ethnic identity.

It is importantto note thatthe relationshipbetween ethnic civil war and political rightsmay not be linear.Hegreet al. (1999) developeda model thatexplainswaras the for resultof politicalgrievanceandopportunity violence.13 They show thatcountriesat the middle of the autocracy-democracy spectrumaremost at risk of civil warbecause for areneitherautocratic to suppressany opportunity rebellionnordemoenough they craticenoughto preventsignificantgrievance.Theirmodel is notas successful in idenfor of tifying the economic determinants the opportunity rebellion.Civil waraimedat the overthrowof a regime is in effect a public good for the rebels (anda public bad for becauseits outcomesare everyoneelse). As such, it will most likely be underproduced its costs are disproportionately borne by those doing nonexclusively consumed, yet most of the fighting.Hegreet al. see the samepoliticalgrievanceas generatingboththe opportunityfor war and the motivationfor using violence. In empiricaltests of the associationbetweenpoliticalrightsand civil waronset, it will be important test for to nonlineareffects. any of Beyond these economic, social, and political determinants ethnic war, I would also expect thatregionalcharacteristics should also influence patternsof civil war.It
the is and 12.Presumably, pertinent orpolitical poverty underdevelopment question whether repressiontendsto be moreethnically concentrated. is 13.Their suchas Tilly(1978)andGurr studies, theory basedon earlier (1970).



has long been thoughtthatsome regions aremore warpronethanothers,perhapsdue to theirethnic makeup,resourceendowments,and geographyor the degree to which they include meddlesome countries. Neighboring ethnic groups in particularmay become involvedin ethnicconflicts in othercountries.Moreover,warsin neighboring countriesmay increase the risk of war in the countryin question throughcontagion can and/ordiffusioneffects (LakeandRothchild1996). Good andbad neighborhoods be distinguishedby the openness of theirpolitical institutionsand theirpronenessto internalconflict. Bad neighborswill have weak political institutions,which can only cause or exacerbatepolitical andeconomic grievancein othercountriesas a result of uncontrolleddomestic ethnic antagonisms.Good neighbors,by contrast,are able to help neighboringstates overcome their political problems, offering guaranteesand mediationthatpreventconflict escalation.Moreover,in the case of war amongethnic groups in borderingregions, neighborswith good institutionsmay be betterable to preventtheirown ethnicgroupsfrombecominginvolvedin the fighting.Thus,I would posit two hypotheses: the in the 4: countries, lowerthe Hypothesis Thegreater levelof democracy neighboring of probability ethniccivilwar. increase riskof more the should of 5: country Hypothesis Thepresence warina neighboring warin theneighborhood. Finally, in addition to regional influences, neorealist theory would suggest that broadsystemic forces and the balance of powermay also influence the likelihood of civil war.Scholarshave argued,for example, thatthe cold war effectively bottledup ethnic conflicts and thatthere was an explosion of such conflicts with the end of the cold war.This is reflectedin my last testablehypothesis: civil with be correlated theonsetof ethnic war. should negatively 6: Hypothesis Thecoldwar At the same time, we would also expect othertime trendsto influence ethnic conflict. Specifically,there has been a positive time trendin the economic development of and democratization most countries,and this trendmay have reducedthose countries' propensityto war.Such a trendwould work againstthe negative impact of the end of the cold war,accordingto the previoushypothesis.Therefore,the net effect of time on the risk of civil war occurrencemay not be easily identifiable. In the next section, I explain how I operationalizeand test these hypotheses. DATA SET, ESTIMATION METHOD, AND PROXY VARIABLES I test these hypothesesusing a new cross-sectionaltime-seriesdataset I compiled, includingeconomic, social, andpoliticalvariablesfrom 161 countriesobservedannually over the periodfrom 1960 to 1999. I use proxy variablesto test specific hypotheses. My proxy for the level of economic developmentis the natural of energyconlog



I My proxy for sumption per capita.14 also use per capita real income (RGDP).15 political rights is the level of democracy (POL), which is given by the difference between Gurr'sdemocracyindex (DEM) and autocracyindex (AUTO) (Jaggersand Gurr1999).16 The relationshipbetweenlevels of democracyandcivil warmay not be in The linear,so I enterpolity as a quadratic most specifications.17 proxyfor ethnichet(EHET)is Vanhanen's(1999) measureof racial, linguistic, and religious erogeneity A division, rangingfrom 0 (extremehomogeneity)to 177 (extremeheterogeneity).'8 differentmeasureis the index of ELF,which is availablefor fewer countriesand uses data from the 1960s.19 Neighbor's median polity (NMDPOL)measuresthe median score of directlybordering measures countries,andneighborat war(NATWAR) polity whethera directly borderingcountryis at war duringthe precedingperiod. I coded nine regions of the world in the variable GEO, designed to pick up region-level is effects.20 COLDWAR a dummyvariablefor the cold waryears(coded 1 before 1990 and 0 after 1990, inclusive). Finally,LOGPOPis the naturallog of populationsize, which I use as a controlvariablewhen testingthe significanceof ethnic diversity.All explanatoryvariables are used with lags to reduce problems of reverse causation (one-periodlags are denotedby addingL1 afterthe name of these variables).Table 1 includes summarystatisticsfor all the proxy variables,andTable2 presentsa correlation matrixfor all key variables. My coding of civil warevents follows Doyle and Sambanis(2000), andthe coding of ethnic civil wars follows the state failureproject,making adjustmentsto the start and end dates of war events so thatthey are consistentwith the above criteriaandmy Thereare 5,378 observationsof no war and 818 observationsof additionalsources.21 warsand600 areobservationsof ethnic/religious war,of which 218 arerevolutionary war. There are 32 revolutionarywar startsand 77 ethnic war starts in the data set.
14. The main source is Singer and Small (1994b), National CapabilitiesData. Missing values are imputedfrom WorldBank dataon energyconsumption.I use energyconsumptionas a proxy because it is less correlatedwith political rights,which reducesproblemsof collinearitybetween democracyand GDP. Also, real per capita income is more likely endogenousto ongoing civil war, whereasoverall energy conalso reflectslevels of infrastrucsumptionmay be less directlyaffectedby war.Finally,energyconsumption ture,which is relevantin determiningthe level of development. 15. Varioussources were used, which caused some problemswith the comparabilityof GDP data. U.S. dolMissing values are imputedfromWorldBankdataon GDP at marketvalues (measuredat current lars) and GDP per capita for 1960 and 1985 (WorldBank data). 16. The source is the Polity 98 dataset. DEM is the democracyindex (from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest). AUTO is the autocracyindex(from1 to 10, with 10 being thehighest).POLis the democracyindex minus the autocracyindex and ranges from-10 (lowest rights)to 10 (highest rights). 17. The polity (POL)variablehas many missing values, which causes me to lose 166 observationsof countrywaryears and 1,158 observationsof countrypeace years.However,it does not appearthatthe coddeviationof polity duringwar ing of polity is affectedby ongoing civil warbecause the mean andstandard 1.5 yearsonly differfromthe corresponding figuresforpeaceyearsby approximately pointsout of a scale of 20. This reduces concerns aboutthe potentialendogeneityof polity. 18. The ethnic heterogeneity(EHET)index was createdby Vanhanen (1999). 19. The ethnolinguisticfractionalization (ELF) index was createdby Taylorand Hudson (1972)and used by Mauro(1995). 20. Nine regionsareidentified:WestEuropeandNorthAmerica(excludingMexico), EastEuropeand the formerUSSR, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, South America and Mexico, Oceania and South Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, and CentralAmerica/Caribbean. 21. The state failureprojectcodes severaltypes of conflict at variouslevels of intensity.I follow my definitionalcriteriato code warevents andthestatefailureprojectto classify thewarevent accordingto type for the corresponding period.




SummaryStatisticsof Core Variables

Variable Log of per capitaenergy consumption (LIENCLI) Real per capitaincome (with imputed missing values-IRGDPL1) Polity index (POLL1) Polity index squared(POL2L1) Ethnic heterogeneityindex (EHET) EHET interactedwith log of population size (EHETPOPL1) index (ELF) Ethnolinguisticfractionalization Neighbor at war (NATWARL1) Cold war (COLDL1) Geographicalregion (GEOL1) Warin previous 10 years (PW10) Log of populationsize (LOGPOPL1) Neighbors'medianpolity index (NMDPOLL1) Democraticchange (annual)(DEMCHGL1) Observation Mean Standard Deviation Minimum Maximum

5,421 5,523 4,899 4,899 6,289 5,924 5,921 6,123 6,213 6,213 6,205 6,003 4,917 4,691



-23.82 300 -10 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 10.62 -10 -9

-8.52 21642.84 10 100 177 2647.67 93 1 1 9 1 20.93 10 9

4217.1 3401.4 -.21 7.72 59.67 30.9 44.22 36.03 689.04 553.74 40.41 28.46 0.319 0.46 0.768 0.42 5.45 2.72 0.21 0.41 15.39 1.90 -1.45 0.008 6.76 0.86

EWARSTis the variabledenotingthe onset of an ethnicwar;it is coded 1 for the onset of war,0 if thereis no ethnic war,or missing for all observationsof ongoing warafter is The variableRWARST coded similarlyforrevolutionary/other the firstobservation. and Hoeffler (2000) used the same coding methodto study the onset of wars. Collier civil war.This is also the methodrecommendedby Beck and Katz (1995) and Beck, Katz, and Tucker(1998) to reducepossible time dependenceproblems. To correctfor possible time dependence,I applythe estimationmethoddeveloped by Beck, Katz, and Tucker(henceforthBKT 1998). BKT show that it is possible to an transform ordinary data probit(or logit) estimatorto handleduration-dependent by addinga series of dummyvariablesto the probitspecificationto capturethe numberof periods since the startof the period understudy (or the numberof previousevents). dependence.If independencecannotbe Applying the BKT method,I test for duration I use a simple probitestimator,controllingfor the numberof years at peace rejected, priorto the onset of war.I also comparethis with a randomeffects panel estimatorand test for the independence of observations. In simple probit models, I cluster same-countryobservations,which relaxes the assumptionof cross-sectional independencefor the same countriesover time. Because I focus on internalwar,I reasonably assume cross-sectionalindependence(i.e., independenceacross countries).




Matrix:Core Variables(N = 3,799) Correlation

LIENCL1 IRGDPL1 POLL1 POL2L1 EHET EHETPOP ELF NATWARL1 COLDL1 GEOL1 PW10 LOGPOPL1 NMDPOLL1 DEMCHGL1 1 0.5959 0.4683 0.3555 -0.3643 -0.3646 -0.3633 -0.1736 -0.3391 -0.5374 -0.1827 -0.0356 0.4792 0.0434



1 0.5478 0.5180 -0.3219 -0.3134 -0.3096 -0.2664 -0.1047 -0.6667 -0.1884 0.0762 0.5414 0.0144

1 0.3173 -0.2796 -0.2450 -0.2871 -0.1566 -0.2288 -0.3801 -0.0645 0.1082 0.6215 0.1211

1 -0.2888 -0.2834 -0.2967 -0.1781 0.0320 -0.4970 -0.2060 -0.0878 0.2701 0.0167

1 0.9852 0.7259 0.1931 0.0095 0.3830 0.2323 0.0321 -0.3486 -0.0386

1 0.7289 0.2217 -0.0015 0.3584 0.2717 0.1650 -0.3311 -0.0381

1 0.1850 -0.0112 0.4385 0.1655 0.0715 -0.3205 -0.0284


NATWARL1 COLDL1 GEOL1 PW10 LOGPOPL1 NMDPOLL1 DEMCHGL1 1 -0.1115 0.2367 0.2545 0.1689 -0.1743 0.0002

1 -0.0124 -0.1160 -0.0873 -0.2539 -0.0696

1 0.1446 1 -0.2061 0.2363 -0.3810 -0.1355 -0.0184 -0.0219

1 0.1036 0.0118

1 0.0425

NOTE:For definitionsof variables,see Table 1.

TESTING MODELS OF THE ONSET OF ETHNIC WAR We get a first idea of the differences across war type by performinga test of the wars.This test leads me to reject equality of means between ethnic andrevolutionary of equalityof meanswith a t statisticof 13.58 (p > Itl= 0.00) for the the null hypothesis entire sample of 6,190 nonmissing observations(includingobservationsof no war). Conductingthe same test on a restrictedsample of only war observations(n = 826) yields a t test of 15.50 (p > Itl= 0.00), which also rejectsthe null hypothesis.It is also possible to treatethnic wars and nonethnicwarsas two differentsamples with potentially unequalvariances.In such a case, the equalityof meanstest is slightly different, although it also resoundinglyrejects the null hypothesis of equality with a t test of 21.61 (p > Itl= 0.00) and 1,649 Satterthwaite's degrees of freedom (only the 848 war observationsare considered).The t test of p, = ,yfor pairedobservations(the years' firsttest used above) is given by the following formula:




whered representsthe meanof xi - yi, andsdis the standard deviation.The t statisticis distributed Student'st with n - 1 degreesof freedom.The two-samplet test of pl = as for unknownandunequalvariance(thesecondtest)is givenby the following formula:
t=(.X- y)/ (s/2 / nx)+(S2 / ),

as with the resultingt statisticdistributed Student'st with v degreesof freedomand is derived using either Satterthwaite'sor Welch's formula.22 these tests Furthermore, show statisticallysignificantdifferences between the means of core variables(e.g., and sortedby wartype. These tests politicalrights,ethnicheterogeneity, warduration) that we should inquirefurtherinto the differencesbetween identityand nonsuggest identity wars. In the next section, I discuss such differences and present results of war. empiricalmodels of the onset of ethnic and revolutionary THE ONSET OF ETHNIC WAR Economictheoriesof waraggregateacrosswartypes, anda model thatis consistent with these theorieswould look like the regressionspresentedin Table3. The resultsof of regression3.1 are representative the key findingsof these studies:economic variables-energy consumptionin regression3.1 andrealper capitaincome in regression 3.3-are highly significant and negatively associated with war onset. By contrast, democracyis generally nonsignificantand enteredlinearly (in regression 3.2, however,the squareof polity is significant).ELFis not significantin any of the regressions and in Table3. The cold waris also nonsignificant, the variablewith the greatestsubstantiveeffect is the log of population.This is consistentwith the findingsof Collier
and Hoeffler (2000).23

Next, I applythe classificationaccordingto wartype discussedearlierandestimate of probitmodels of the probability the onset of ethnicwar.The resultsarepresentedin Table4, which allows me to test the hypothesesof the previoussection. The BTSCS observations of so structure the dataimpliesthatcountry-year may not be independent, I also use a panel estimator(randomeffects probit).The test of the correlationcoeffiobservationsare cient p is significantin regression4.3, whichmeansthatcountry-year not independent.However,the randomeffects (RE) probit model generates almost identical results to probit controlling for peace years. Following the BKT (1998) model, I addeda variablecontrollingfor the numberof yearspriorto the firstwarstart in each of the regressions.
22. See Greene(1997) and Stata ReferenceManual (StataCorporation1999, 230-31). 23. The high coefficient of LOGPOP (natural of populationsize) mayreflect a selection effect due log to the definitionof civil war in termsof an absolutethresholdof deaths(peryearor overall).Morepopulous countriesmay have violent conflicts thatmoreeasily generatecasualtiesof the magnitudethatis requiredto code a civil war event.




ProbitModels of the Core Economic Theory of Civil WarOnset

Dependent Variable: WarStart (WARST) Constant Log of per capitaenergy consumption Real per capitaincome Polity index Polity index squared index Ethnolinguisticfractionalization Log of populationsize Cold war Observations(n) Log likelihood Wald chi-square Regression3.1 -5.408** (0.699) -0.099** (0.031) -0.008 (0.008) Regression3.2 -5.095** (0.754) -0.089** (0.031) -0.007 (0.009) -0.004* (0.002) 0.003 (0.002) 0.114** (0.030) 0.006 (0.176) 3,890 -342.088 X2(6)= 43.24 Regression3.3 -3.932** (0.580)

-0.00008** (0.00002) -0.006 (0.009) 0.003 (0.002) 0.117** (0.030) 0.112 (0.164) 3,897 -343.237 X2(5)= 48.29

0.003 (0.002) 0.113** (0.029) -0.043 (0.174) 3,890 -344.756 X2(5)= 33.26

errorsare reportedin parentheses. NOTE:Coefficients and standard * Significantat .05 level (one-tailedtest). ** Significantat .01 level (one-tailedtest).

Regression4.1 revealssignificantdifferenceswith the previousresults.High levels of democracyarerobustlysignificantandmuchmore so thaneconomic development Notice thatthe squareof polity is signifi(proxiedby per capitaenergyconsumption). cant and negatively correlatedwith ethnic war occurrence,which establishes a first importantdifferencebetween the causes of ethnic wars and the causes of civil wars more generally(because otherstudieshave arguedthatpolitical variablesare not significant in causing civil wars once they controlfor economic variables). The log of per capitaenergyconsumptionis negativeandgenerallynonsignificant or weakly significantin some specifications.Controllingfor the geographicalregion (regressions 4.5-4.6) improves the significance level of this variablebecause there must be climatic and other geographical determinantsof energy consumption. Replacingthe log of per capitaenergyconsumptionwith real per capitaincome actually reducesthe significanceof boththe economic variable(in this case, realpercapita income) and the polity variable(results not reported).There may be measurement errorandproblemswith the comparability sourcesused to constructthe GDP variof so I use the energy consumptionvariableinstead. able, EHETis amongthe most robustlysignificantvariablesandis positively correlated with the onset of ethnic war:as a countrybecomes more heterogeneous,the probabilwith the log of populationsize ity of occurrenceof an ethnic warincreases.Interacted once (LOGPOPL1)in regression4.4, ethnic heterogeneityis still significant lagged andpositive. The squareof EHETis nonsignificant,andits sign in regression4.6 suggests that it does not enterthe model as a quadratic. has Much of the political science literature discussed the explosion of ethnic conflicts in the post-cold warera. Most authorsand the popularpress seem to arguethat the end of the cold war exacerbatedethnic conflict. Othersarguethe opposite: Gurr (2000) presenteddatathatshow an increasingtrendof ethnicconflict since the 1960s


ProbitModels of Ethnic WarOnset

Variable: Dependent EWARST Constant Log of percapita energyconsumption Polityindex Polityindexsquared Ethnicheterogeneity EHET. log of population EHETsquared Peaceyears(PeaceEds) Number previous of wars at Neighbor war Coldwar region Geographical median Neighbors' polity Observations (n) Log likelihood Waldchi-square (df) 4.1 Regression 4.2 Regression 4.3 Regression Regression4.4


-2.932** (0.486) -2.897** (0.483) -3.490** (0.598) -0.052 (0.032) -0.045 (0.032) -0.047 (0.045) -0.002 (0.010) -0.00009 (0.010) 0.004 (0.011) -0.004* (0.002) -0.004* (0.002) -0.005* (0.003) 0.004** (0.002) 0.0003** (0.0001) 0.0005** (0.0002) -0.016** (0.007) 0.015** (0.007)

-3.291** (0.530) -2.957** ( -0.054 (0.033) -0.060* 0.004 (0.010) 0.001 -0.005** (0.002) -0.004* 0.005** 0.0003** (0.0001)

( ( ( (

0.418** (0.122) 0.396** (0.123) -0.043 (0.186) -0.025 (0.187)

-0.006 0.253** 0.377** (0.144) 0.323** 0.132 (0.193) 0.168

(0.007) -0.0l5** ( (0.088) (0.125) 0.420** ( (0.191) -0.050 ( -0.178 (

4,175 -249.338 52.60

4,175 -247.802 60.31

4,175 -245.915 28.43

4,175 -244.342 93.39

4,175 -249.14 52.72

NOTE:Coefficientsand standard errorsare reportedin parentheses.EWARSTis the variabledenoting the onset of ethni * Significantat .05 level (one-tailedtest). ** Significantat .01 level (one-tailed test).


anda decline in suchconflict since the mid-1990s.Inmy models andalmostall specifiof determinant ethnic waronset, and cations, I find the cold warto be a nonsignificant its sign is usually negative, althoughthis is not stable. The randomeffects probitmodel (regression4.3) affirmsthe previouslydiscussed of results with respect to the determinants ethnic war onset. The significancelevel of is reduced,whereasthe significanceof the squareof the polity energy consumption variable is increased. The likelihood test on the correlationcoefficient p yields a chi-squareof 9.95 with one degree of freedom,which rejectsthe assumptionof independence. Because the results are similar,however,I use the simple probitestimator, but I control for peace years to capturesome of the time dependence.Applying the BKT (1998) methodin all the specificationsof the model in Table4, I findpeace years to be quite robust, but the cubic splines computed using the BKT method are nonsignificantin any specification,so these resultsare not reported.This time dependence is theoreticallyconsistent:the longerone is atpeace,themoretime to buildinstitutions to manage conflict and the more distant any memories of past conflict. A relatedresultis thatwarduringthe previous10 yearssignificantlyincreasesthe risk of a new waronset, butonce we controlfor peace years,thisrelationshipis no longer sigCollierandHoeffler(2000) also founda similarresultin nificant(resultsnotreported). their study. effects. This is a One of my most robustresultsis the strengthof the neighborhood on new empiricalfindingthatsupportssome of the theoreticalliterature contagionand diffusioneffects. I findthatcountriesthathavelandborderswith countriesat war(this variableis also lagged) are significantlymore likely to experience an ethnic war of theirown. The neighborat warvariableis extremelyrobustto differentspecifications, and its marginaleffect is very large.At this stage,my analysiscannotexplainif this is due to contagionordiffusioneffects (i.e., if ethnicwarspreads physicallyacrossborders to otherethnic groupsor if information effects influencepatternsof mobilizationand violentconflictin neighboring states).Bothof theseeffectsarepossibleanddeservefurtherempiricalstudy (see Lake andRothchild1996 for a theoretical discussion). Adding the regional 5-year averageof democracyand/orthe once-lagged median level of polity for directlyborderingstates changes the results with respect to polity (referto regression4.7). The signs on the polity variablereveala parabolicassociation with the onset of ethnicwars,butthe significancelevel is now too low. The neighbors' democracymedian is significant and negatively associated with the onset of ethnic war; more important,it seems to compete with the domestic level of democracy in terms of its influence on the probabilityof war occurrence.These results also hold if we use a broaderregionaldemocracyaverage,takingthe mean level of democracyin nine geographicalregions over 5-year periods(resultsnot reported). These results (significancelevels) may be influencedby the potentialendogeneity of core variables-specifically, economic and political variablessuch as energy consumption and polity. To test if that is the case, I estimated the core model of regression 4.1 andappliedRiversandVuong's(1988) test of exogeneity.I estimateda model with two potentially endogenous continuousright-handside variables (lagged versions of the log of percapitaenergyconsumptionandpolity index squared)using population density, region-level income, and twice-lagged right-handside variables as



instruments.The null hypothesisof exogeneity of both polity and per capita energy = > consumptioncould not be rejected(with a X2(2) 3.46; probability X2= 0.18). Thus, I returnedto the results presentedin Table4. Beyond the discussionof the significancelevels of these variables,it is also imporof tantto gauge theirsubstantive impacton the probability waronset. In this study,my main interestis to compareand contrastthe significance and relativeimpact of economic as opposedto politicalvariables.This is done in Figure 1, whereit is easy to see of thatcontraryto the arguments the proponentsof the economic theoryof civil war, democracyand economic developmenthave comparableeffects on the likelihood of ethnicwaronset. The two panelsof Figure 1 show changein the estimatedprobability of ethnic war onset as a result of variationin these two key explanatoryvariables.I allow the level of ethnic heterogeneityto vary and observe changes in the estimated likelihood of ethnic war across levels of EHET as a result of changes in the level of POL and the log of per capitaenergyconsumption.In panel A, I constructtwo hypothetical cases: an "undemocratic" case, in which the polity score is set at the bottom 10%of therangefor thatvariable,anda "democratic" case, in whichthe polity scoreis set at the top 10%of its range. The other variablesare held constantat their global to medians.In panelB, one line corresponds a "less developed"case, wherethe log of is set at the bottom 10%of the rangefor thatvariable, per capitaenergyconsumption and a "moredeveloped"case, wherethe log of per capitaenergyconsumptionis set at the top 10%of the range for that variable.It is easy to observe that higher levels of haveroughlyequallypositiveeffects and democracyandhigherlevels of development the reducethe estimatedlikelihoodof ethnicwaronset by approximately same amount that the statistical significance of the democracyeffect is greater).It is also (note to important note thatthe observeddifferencein the riskof waronset betweenless and more democratic countries or less and more developed countries is significantly which shows thatdemocracyandecogreaterat higherlevels of ethnicheterogeneity, nomic developmentare two good ways to manageethnic conflict in most societies. war In sharpcontrastto the models of ethnicwaronset, the models of revolutionary onset (RWARST)have very poor fit to the data(see Table5). Few of the explanatory variablesare significant.I find some strikingdifferencesin comparingthese models with the models of ethnic war. First, if I replace energy consumptionwith real per capita income, I do see a markedincrease in the significance level of that variable, which suggests that economic variables may be more importantdeterminantsof nonethnicwar onset thanethnic war onset. Second, polity is no longer significant,and a parabolicrelationshipis not evident in havenegativesignsif entered themodeltogether becausebothpolityandpolitysquare in is some significanceto politysquare regression butif we removeit fromthe 5.1, (there if in model, polity is nonsignificant all the otherspecifications; we use real per capita income in regression5.1, the significancelevel of polity squaredropsmarkedly). Third, EHET is not significant or positive as in the case of ethnic war onset; in some specifications, one sees a weakly significant parabolicrelationshipbetween revolutionarywar onset and the square of EHET, which is similar to some of the results from the economic theoriesof civil war(regressions5.3-5.4). The interaction



in of WarOnset as a Result PanelA: Difference the Estimated Probability Ethnic of a Changefromthe Bottom10%to Top10%in Democracy o Undemocratic A Democratic .04

.03 -

. *u O C

.02 .01 O0 150 100 50 Ethnic Heterogeneity

DS n_



in of War PanelB: Difference the Estimated Probability Ethnic Onsetas a Result of a Changefromthe Bottom10%to Top10%in the Logof Per Capita for Consumption (Proxy Levelof Development) Energy o Less Developed A More Developed .04 4--



_ .02 -



Ethnic Heterogeneity




Figure 1: Effects of Changes in Political and Economic Variables on the Probability of Onset of Ethnic Waracross Levels of Ethnic Heterogeneity

term of ethnic heterogeneity and population (EHETPOP), which was highly significant in the case of ethnic war onset, is no longer significant (regression 5.5). Fourth, there is no appreciable or significant relationship in this case between war onset and peace years, in contrast to the results for ethnic war onset presented previously.


ProbitModels of Revolutionaryand OtherWarOnset

Variable: Dependent RWARST Constant Log of percapita energyconsumption RealpercapitaGDP Polityindex Polityindexsquared Ethnicheterogeneity Ethnicheterogeneity * population log Ethnicheterogeneity squared Peaceyears(PeaceEds) Neighboratwar Coldwar region Geographical Democratic change Warin previous10 years Observations (n) Log likelihood Waldchi-square (df) 5.1 Regression 5.2 Regression 5.3 Regression Regression5.4


-3.060** (0.776) -2.333** (0.358) -3.427** (0.767) -3.594** (0.755) -2.699** ( -0.027 -0.00007* (0.00004) -0.004 (0.013) -0.002 (0.013) 0.001 -0.004** (0.002) 0.011 -0.050 (0.045) 0.000007(0.0001) 0.00002 (0.0001) (0.010) -0.004 (0.169) 0.150 (0.290) -0.009 -0.0001 ( (0.0000.000 .00010)0. l* (0.010) -0.006 (0.010) -0.004 (0.177) 0.173 (0.165) 0.185 (0.313) -0.036 (0.284) 0.005 0.054 (0.039) 0.042 0.102** 4,445 -133.493 26.09 (0.055) -0.036 (0.013) (0.007) 0.001 0.012 (0.057) (0.014) (0.008)

-0.00009*( 0.0008 (

0.00003 ( (0.00006) (0.010) (0.162) 0.212 (0.268) 0.074 (0.036) (0.045)

-0.002 0.152 -0.024

( (

4,445 -134.342 24.06

4,452 -134.444 16.84

4,256 -126.637 32.45

4,452 -132.9 5.04

errorsarereportedin parentheses.RWARSTis the variabledenoting the onset of revol NOTE:Coefficientsand standard * Significantat .05 level (one-tailedtest). ** Significantat .01 level (one-tailed test).


Fifth, the neighborhoodmedianpolity index is nonsignificantand positive in this with ethnicwaronset case, as opposedto a highly significantandnegativerelationship (resultsnot reported). differencewith referenceto the impactof democFinally,it is worthnotinganother ratization. Democratic change may be dangerous and may spark ethnic conflict (Snyder2000). In my data,I find weak supportfor this hypothesisbut not with reference to ethnic war.I find that thereis a significantand positive relationshipbetween and war 5.4), changein levels of democracy theriskof onsetof revolutionary (regression butI do not findthe same significantrelationship withrespectto ethnicwar(resultsnot does not hold for autocraticchange or shown). It is worthnotingthatthis relationship net change in the polity index andthatreferenceis madehereonly to annualchangeto the index (not percentchange or change in an averageover time). The relationship between democraticchange and risk of war is complex and should be addressedin a separatepaper.Here, I have addedchange in level of democracymainly as a control variable. Regressions5.6 and5.7 estimatemorefully specifiedmodels of the core economic theories of civil war,aggregatingcivil wars (the dependentvariableis now WARST). Here, we see results similarto those discussed in the economic theories of war:economic variables (log of energy consumptionper capita) are more significant than democracy(polity), andwarin the previous10 years (PW10) is highly significantand positive (regression5.7). We find thatthe neighborhoodeffects discussed earlierare still significant,which is somethingthatthe economic theoriesof warshouldtakeinto consideration. Overall, there are some importantdifferencesbetween ethnic war onset and the onset of civil warmoregenerally(i.e., aggregated civil warsand/orrevolutionary wars Politics is more important than economics in causing ethnic civil war, specifically). and ethnic heterogeneitysignificantlyincreasesthe risk of such war.The core model of regression4.1 explainsmanycases well, butquitea few cases arenot well explained by the model. We need to develop more dataand bettertheoryto explain more of the variancein the onset of ethnic war (note thatit is harderto predictaccuratelythe first occurrenceof an event;models of prevalencewould have much betterfit to the data). Thereare some cases thatthe model explainsvery well: countriessuch as Icelandand Japanhave strong and transparent political institutions,developed economies, and homogeneous societies and have an infinitesimalpredictedrisk of ethnic civil war. Countriessuch as Zaire(now DemocraticRepublicof the Congo), Turkeyin the 1970s and 1980s, Indiain the 1970s, andEthiopiahave amongthe highest estimatedprobabilities of onset of ethnic war.These are obviously correctpredictionsbecause war occurredin those countrieswithin a few years of the prediction.However,the model errssignificantlyin some cases because two of the most influentialcases (in termsof leverage statistics) are also outliers:Cyprusshould not have had an ethnic civil war according to the model, and Nigeria should have experienced an ethnic war in the 1990s. It is interestingto think about these cases briefly. Cyprus in the mid-to-late 1960s hada high democracyscorein the politydatabase,althoughstudentsof thatconflict know well thatin the 1960s, Cyprusdid not have a well-functioninggovernment and that it faced a serious constitutionalcrisis that eventuallyhelped sparkthe civil



war.Thus, this may be a case of poor dataleadingthe model to make a wrongprediction. In the case of Nigeria,ethnicwarseems imminent.The factthatrecurrent pockets of violence do not rise to the level of a war would suggest thatthis is a countryworth watchingclosely over the next few years.

CONCLUSION Using annualfrequencyBTSCSdatafor 161 countriesovera 40-yearperiod,I have of identifiedsignificantdifferencesbetweenthe determinants identityandnonidentity causedby politicalgrievance,andthey are civil wars.Identitywarsarepredominantly unlikely to occur in politically free (i.e., democratic)societies. I find that ethnic heterogeneityis significantlyand positively correlatedwith the onset of ethnic war, whereasthe economic literatureon war initiationhas suggested that ethnic heterogeneityeither decreasesthe risk of war onset or has no significant associationwith the riskof war.In ongoing research,I takea closer look at this importantdifferencebetween ethnic diversityand the risk of the onset of differenttypes of war.I exploredifferencesin coding, the significanceof variousinfluentialcases, and It the propertiesof differentvariablesthatcan be used to proxyethnicheterogeneity. is to also important unpackthe concept of ethnicheterogeneityand to betterunderstand which of its componentsis moreclosely linkedto warinitiation-is it racialdivision, linguistic difference,or religious heterogeneity? The analysisin this studyhas also revealedsignificantsystemic andregionaldeterin on minantsof war,which have notyet beenincorporated the literature civil war.The cold war seems not to have been a major determinantof ethnic war onset, and a regionaldummyvariablefailed to revealrobustness,althoughit improvedthe performance of othervariables(mainlyeconomic variables).Otherregionalfactors,by contrast,are robustacross the board.Regionaldemocracyexertsa moderatinginfluence on the probabilityof ethnicwar,whereasit appearsto encourageideological rebellion in the neighborhood(the lattereffect is nonsignificantin the case of war onset but studiesof warprevalence).Neighborhoodwars seems to be significantin preliminary andlong periodsof peace also seem to be much more significantfor ethnic waronset than nonethnicwar. These interestingand divergenteffects should be studied more to how systemiceffects aretransmitted the domestic closely so thatwe can understand how they might be managedto reducethe risk of civil war. political sphereand This study suggests thatsome theoriesare bettersuitedto explain ethnic warthan others:it appearsthatmodernization theory,with its emphasison economic variables, less applicable than theories of political development or neoliberalism, whose is emphasison therole of politicalinstitutionsseems highly relevantas an explanationof the onset of ethnicwar.Neorealismso farseems not as relevantas some scholarshave thoughtbecause we found no evidence of a securitydilemma,althoughmore precise tests are needed before we reacha final conclusion on this matter.Overall,however, the muchmoreresearchis neededto fully understand causes of ethnicwaranddevelop a comprehensivetheory.The resultspresentedin this articlecannotdistinguishfully and betweenprimordialism ethnicnetworkstheorybecauseof lack of dataon the role



of elites in mobilizingethnicgroupsto use violence. The next step in this researchis to tests with availabledata,andthe step conducta numberof specificationandrobustness after that, which will have even greaterusefulness, will be to develop new data that bettercapturethe variablesof theoreticalinterest.Forexample,time-variant measures of ethnic diversitywould tell us more abouthow ethnicityis felt by people over time and how the intensityof these feelings is shapedby sociopoliticalconditions.Groupand wealth distributionas specific measures of inequality,political representation, well as territorial concentration ethnicgroupsareall variablesthatshouldbe coded of andused in further refinementsof this work.Until we have a muchmore detaileddata set, the findings in this study should be interpretedas intermediateresults, whose robustnessmust be tested furtheras our theoreticalunderstanding ethnic violence of

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