James D Fearon

James D Fearon
Stanford University | SU · Department of Political Science

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76
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Publications

Publications (76)
Article
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The potential links between climate and conflict are well studied, yet disagreement about the specific mechanisms and their significance for societies persists. Here, we build on assessment of the relationship between climate and organized armed conflict to define crosscutting priorities for future directions of research. They include (1) deepening...
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Research findings on the relationship between climate and conflict are diverse and contested. Here we assess the current understanding of the relationship between climate and conflict, based on the structured judgments of experts from diverse disciplines. These experts agree that climate has affected organized armed conflict within countries. Howev...
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Cooperation, Conflict, and the Costs of Anarchy—CORRIGENDUM - Volume 72 Issue 3 - James D. Fearon
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This essay sketches an explanation for the global spread of civil war up to the early 1990s and the partial recession since then, arguing that some of the decline is likely due to policy responses by major powers working principally through the United Nations. Unfortunately, the spread of civil war and state collapse to the Middle East and North Af...
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Social cooperation is critical to a wide variety of political and economic outcomes. For this reason, international donors have embraced interventions designed to strengthen the ability of communities to solve collective-action problems, especially in post-conflict settings. We exploit the random assignment of a development program in Liberia to as...
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Protracted conflicts over the status and demands of ethnic and religious groups have caused more instability and loss of human life than any other type of local, regional, and international conflict since the end of World War II. Yet we still have accumulated little in the way of accepted knowledge about the ethnic landscape of the world. In part t...
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Social evolution is one of the most rapidly developing areas in evolutionary biology. A main theme is the emergence of cooperation among organisms, including the factors that impede cooperation. Although animal societies seem to have no formal institutions, such as courts or legislatures, we argue that biology presents many examples where an intera...
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We assess the degree of persistence in armed conflict in particular places over the last two centuries. At the regional level, we find some evidence of anti-persistence, consistent with Tilly's arguments about war and state-building: Eastern and Western Europe had large amounts of conflict from 1815-1945 and almost none after, whereas Africa, Asia,...
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Kenneth Waltz's books and articles have definitively shaped the study of international relations over the past fifty years. He developed a version of “Realist” thinking on the subject that has structured research in the entire field, for critics and supporters alike. On March 11, 2011, at his home in New York, he was interviewed by James Fearon, a...
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If democracy is to have the good effects said to justify it, it must be self-enforcing in that incumbents choose to hold regular, competitive elections and comply with the results. I consider models of electoral accountability that allow rulers a choice of whether to hold elections and citizens whether to rebel. When individuals observe diverse sig...
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If democracy is to have the good effects said to justify it, it must be self-enforcing in that incumbents choose to hold regular, competitive elections and comply with the results. I consider models of electoral accountability that allow rulers a choice of whether to hold elections and citizens whether to rebel. When individuals observe diverse sig...
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Summary In nearly a third of ethnic civil wars since 1945, the conflict develops between members of a regional ethnic group that considers itself to be the indigenous "sons of the soil" and recent migrants from other parts of the country. The migrants are typically members of the dominant ethnic group who migrate in search of land or government job...
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In this paper, the author considers whether low values on governance indicators such as the CPIA index, the World Governance Indicators (WGI), and the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) predict an elevated risk of civil violence in subsequent years. The existence of a bivariate relationship would not be the surprising, as it is well known that...
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Abstract will be provided by author.
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When Things Fell Apart manages to be wonderfully concise but still compelling. The thing Robert Bates seeks to explain is the secular trend in sub-Saharan Africa toward civil war, although he often characterizes this in broader terms, as a trend toward “political conflict” or “political disorder.” He explains the trend as follows: Public revenues f...
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Can brief, foreign-funded efforts to build local institutions have positive effects on local patterns of governance, cooperation, and well-being? Prior research suggests that such small-scale, externally driven interventions are unlikely to substantially alter patterns of social interaction in a community, and that the ability of a community to act...
Chapter
This article describes how qualitative and quantitative tools can be used jointly to strengthen causal inference. It first outlines the findings of statistical analysis of civil war onsets. It then addresses the different criteria for choosing which narratives to tell. A method for structuring narratives that is complementary to the statistical wor...
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Partly hidden beneath the complexities of N* and an attack on the supposedly individualist presumptions of ethnic fractionalization measures, a simple and valuable question lies implicit in Cederman and Girardin's (2007) article (henceforth, CG). Are countries at greater risk of civil war when the state is controlled by an ethnic minority?
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In Przeworski's theory of "democracy as an equilibrium," under certain con-ditions parties agree to hold elections and observe the results as a way of sharing control of the state rather than fighting over it. But if the goods that come with state control are themselves divisible, there is no need to use elections to "split the difference." The cen...
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Collier and Hoeffler reported that countries with a higher percentage of national income from primary commodity exports have been more prone to civil war, an interesting finding that has received much attention from policy makers and the media. The author shows that this result is quite fragile, even using Collier and Hoeffler’s data. Minor changes...
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The most common form of civil war in the post-World War II period has been a stalemated guerrilla war confined to a rural periphery of a low-income, post-colonial state. Standard contest models of conflict do not capture important and distinctive features of insurgency, and in particular the fact that guerrilla survival depends on their controlling...
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International Security 28.4 (2004) 5-43 George W. Bush and his administration came into office with a self-consciously realist orientation in foreign policy. The president and his advisers derided the Clinton administration's multilateralism as mere form without national security substance. They viewed Russia and China as the main potential threats...
Article
Is there case study evidence of a relationship between the socialconstruction of ethnic identities and the probability of ethnic war? Themere observation that ethnic identities are socially constructed doesnot by itself explain ethnic violence and may not even be particularlyrelevant. Our purpose here is to see if we can reject the nullhypothesis t...
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Neoliberals and their neorealist critics have debated the relative importance of two main obstacles to international cooperation—problems of cheating and enforcement and problems of relative gains. By contrast, I argue that problems of international cooperation have a common strategic structure in which a third, distinct obstacle plays a crucial ro...
Article
For their empirical evaluation, several active research programs in economics and political science require data on ethnic groups across countries. "Ethnic group," however, is a slippery concept. After addressing conceptual and practical obstacles, I present a list of 822 ethnic groups in 160 countries that made up at least 1 percent of the country...
Article
For their empirical evaluation, several active research programs in economics and political science require data on ethnic groups across countries. “Ethnic group,” however, is a slippery concept. After addressing conceptual and practical obstacles, I present a list of 822 ethnic groups in 160 countries that made up at least 1 percent of the country...
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Five factors are shown to be strongly related to civil war duration. Civil wars emerging from coups or revolutions tend to be short. Civil wars in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have also tended to be relatively brief, as have anti-colonial wars. By contrast, 'sons of the soil' wars that typically involve land conflict between a periphe...
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An influential conventional wisdom holds that civil wars proliferated rapidly with the end of the Cold War and that the root cause of many or most of these has been ethnic nationalism. We show that the current prevalence of internal war is mainly the result of a steady accumulation of protracted conflicts since the 50s and 60s rather than a sudden...
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The empirical question of how often deterrent threats issued during international disputes succeed has been hotly debated for years, with some researchers arguing that virtually no robust cases of success can be identified. I argue that what appears to be an empirical and methodological debate actually arises from the inadequacy of classical ration...
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The paper undertakes an ordinary language analysis of the current meanings of "iden-tity," a complicated and unclear concept that nonetheless plays a central role in ongoing debates in every subfield of political science (for example, debates about national, ethnic, gender, and state identities). "Identity" as we now know it derives mainly the work...
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ABSTRACT The first part of the paper uses the Minorities at Risk data set to address the following puzzle: What relatively exogenous factors dierentiate,the small number of groups that have experienced large-scale ethnic and communal violence since 1945 from the much larger number that have not? We find that in this period large-scale ethnic violen...
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A significant and growing literature on international relations (IR) argues that domestic politics is typically an important part of the explanation for states' foreign policies, and seeks to understand its influence more precisely. I argue that what constitutes a "domestic-political" explanation of a state's foreign policy choices has not been cle...
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The author distinguishes between two types of costly signals that state leaders might employ in trying to credibly communicate their foreign policy interests to other states, whether in the realm of grand strategy or crisis diplomacy. Leaders might either (a) tie hands by creating audience costs that they will suffer ex post if they do not follow t...
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Though both journalists and the academic literature on ethnic conflict give the opposite impression, peaceful and even cooperative relations between ethnic groups are far more common than is large-scale violence. We seek to explain this norm of interethnic peace and how it occasionally breaks down, arguing that formal and informal institutions usua...
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Realist and other scholars commonly hold that rationally led states can and sometimes do fight when no peaceful bargains exist that both would prefer to war. Against this view, I show that under very broad conditions there will exist negotiated settlements that genuinely rational states would mutually prefer to a risky and costly fight. Popular rat...
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International crises are modeled as a political “war of attrition” in which state leaders choose at each moment whether to attack, back down, or escalate. A leader who backs down suffers audience costs that increase as the public confrontation proceeds. Equilibrium analysis shows how audience costs enable leaders to learn an adversary's true prefer...
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Conventional wisdom holds that in international disputes, a state's military threast are more likely to work the more the state is favored by the balance of power or the balance of interests. Analysis of a game-theoretic model of crisis signaling substantially refines and revises this claim. Due to selection effects arising from strategic behavior,...
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Scholars in comparative politics and international relations routinely evaluate causal hypotheses by referring to counterfactual cases where a hypothesized causal factor is supposed to have been absent. The methodological status and the viability of this very common procedure are unclear and are worth examining. How does the strategy of counterfact...
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Since the 1979 oil shock and in the course of the subsequent world recession, many African governments have dramatically altered the orientation of their economic policies. A central role has been played in many, if not all, of these changes by international finance institutions. At present 3 of these - the IMF, the Paris Club group and the World B...
Article
In this paper, the author considers whether low values on governance indicators such as the CPIA index, the World Governance Indicators (WGI), and the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) predict an elevated risk of civil violence in subsequent years. The existence of a bivariate relationship would not be the surprising, as it is well known that...
Article
Full-text available
The most common form of civil war in the post-World War II period has been a stalemated guerrilla war conflned to a rural periphery of a low-income, post-colonial state. Standard contest models of con∞ict do not capture important and distinctive features of insurgency, and in par- ticular the fact that guerrilla survival depends on their controllin...
Article
We assess the degree of persistence in armed conflict in particular places over the last two centuries, asking in addition if conflict-ridden places have durable features – social, demographic or geographical – that explain persistence, or whether armed conflict at one time has a causal effect on propensity for armed conflict at later times. For al...
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Imagine a large population of individuals who will be drawn at random, one by one, to make a choice from a set of styles of consumer goods (such as shoes). Assume that individuals vary continuously in their disposition to "stand out from" or "blend in with the crowd," meaning that each has preferences over the number of others wearing the style she...
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Cover Note This report provides provisional results on the basis of a random subset of 1560 surveys entered and analyzed from a total of 1712 surveys conducted. Numbers in this report are subject to change once the complete set of surveys is analyzed and all data is cleaned. 2 Executive Summary This report describes the initial findings of a survey...
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The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the World Development Report 2011 team, the World Bank and its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.

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