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A congruence analysis of the inequality–conflict nexus: Evidence from 16 cases



The relationship between inequality and civil conflict has attracted considerable interest in conflict research. Recent large-N studies have shown that inequalities significantly contribute to the outbreak of civil conflict and have proposed a number of causal pathways to account for this. These pathways, however, have rarely been assessed in systematic case-based research. This study implements a “middle-N” qualitative congruence analysis of 16 conflicts, focusing on the observable implications of the pathways through which inequalities are typically theorized to influence conflict. The study finds evidence to support some of the main pathways proposed in the quantitative literature. Furthermore, the analysis finds that different types of inequalities relate to different conflict categories. Specifically, vertical inequalities relate to non-ethnic governmental conflicts (via an “individual deprivation pathway”), regional inequalities to non-ethnic territorial conflicts (via a “separatist pathway”), and horizontal inequalities to ethnic conflicts (via a “group deprivation pathway”).
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... Furthermore, psychological research has typically relied on samples from Western democracies (Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan 2010). By contrast, political scientists have extensively analyzed the inequality-violence link, across various countries; however, they have rarely tested individual-level theories against individual-level data (for critiques, see Bartusevičius 2019;Dyrstad and Hillesund 2020;Hillesund 2015;Koos 2018;Miodownik and Nir 2015;Pettigrew 2015;Rustad 2016). ...
... Several macro-level studies have identified a positive association between (static) vertical inequalities and civil conflict (e.g., Bartusevičius 2014;Boix 2008;Buhaug, Cederman, and Gleditsch 2014; see also Bartusevičius 2019). Why have we not found an association between inequality and violence? ...
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Despite extensive scholarly interest in the association between economic inequality and political violence, the micro-level mechanisms through which the former influences the latter are not well understood. Drawing on pioneering theories of political violence, social psychological research on relative deprivation, and prospect theory from behavioral economics, we examine individual-level processes that underpin the relationship between inequality and political violence. We present two arguments: despite being a key explanatory variable in existing research, perceived lower economic status vis-à-vis other individuals (an indicator of relative deprivation) is unlikely to motivate people to participate in violence; by contrast, although virtually unexplored, a projected decrease in one’s own economic status (prospective decremental deprivation) is likely to motivate violence. Multilevel analyses of probability samples from many African countries provide evidence to support these claims. Based on this, we posit that focusing on changes in living conditions, rather than the status quo, is key for understanding political violence.
... While political exclusion seems to have a strong effect on its own, economic deprivation increases the risk of civil war particularly in combination with political discrimination (Buhaug et al. 2014;Cederman et al. 2011). Moreover, economic inequalities rather lead to an increased risk of civil and communal conflict, while political exclusion often promotes targeting the government instead of other groups, since only the executive can change political distribution (Bartusevicius 2019;Hillesund 2019). Additionally, contextual factors like crosscutting cleavages, the political system, or natural resource wealth might determine the effect of HI on the likelihood of civil war (e.g. ...
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This article presents an examination of the dynamics of interstate cyber disputes. More precisely, it explores which country-level factors will lead to a larger/smaller number of cyber incidents involving that state. A number of different predictors for cyber disputes are tested using negative binomial regression analysis. The dataset for this paper is based on the Dyadic Cyber Incident and Dispute Dataset. There are four main takeaways. First, more conventional military strength also leads a state to be more frequently involved in cyber incidents. Second, countries that are better connected to the internet employ cyber operations more often but they are also more appealing targets. Third, having a highly educated population makes countries more prone to using cyber tactics. Fourth, the dynamics of cyber disputes differ significantly from those of more conventional conflicts. GDP per capita, military alliances, and regime type do not affect cyber operations in the way they influence conventional warfare. Full Text:
Scholarship has demonstrated that domestic economic inequality is related to a number of forms of intrastate conflict, such as civil wars and rebellions. There are good reasons to believe that it also has an impact on the initiation of militarized interstate disputes for diversionary reasons. Such use of external force may refocus popular attention and may reinforce the strong nationalist sentiment that tends to prevail in societies with substantial economic inequality. Our empirical results support this contention in democracies but, as expected, not in autocracies. At a time when domestic economic inequality is rising across the world, our findings may be timely.
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The Research Cluster Human Security & Resource Governance is maintaining since 2018 a bibliography that collects academic works analyzing the theory and practice of human security. The bibliography is comprised of academic books, journal articles, working papers and policy reports. The goal of this bibliography is to provide a useful sample of starting points for research and investigations on Human Security. The bibliography is “work in progress” and will be regularly updated.
On the basis of the FCTAS RAS monitoring study (April 2018), the socio-psychological characteristics of the two groups modern Russians-supporters of institutional change and supporters of stability-are compared. The analysis is based on the approach proposed by T. Garr, the author of the classic study "Why people rebel", according to which the protest public sentiment associated with the desire for qualitative institutional change, due primarily to socio-psychological factors (primarily, relative deprivation). It is shown that in modern Russia supporters of change are really more frustrated by their social status than supporters of stability. In addition, the supporters of change have wider set of life plans, they are eager to achieve extraordinary success in life than the supporters of stability. At the same time, they more rarely realized desired life models in the past. Supporters and opponents of institutional change perceive the social processes taking place in the country differently: supporters of change are less rated already occurred changes in the country as positive and future perspectives are drawn to them in darker colors than to the supporters of stability. These trends characterize the growth of prerequisites for the next qualitative change in the "rules of the game" in Russia, but they do not correspond to the situation of the acute phase of the national crisis, but rather to the situation of uncertainty, expectation of new events. / На материалах мониторингового исследования ИС РАН в апреле 2018 г. проводится сравнение социально-психологических характеристик двух групп современных россиян – сторонников институциональных изменений (перемен) и приверженцев стабильности. Анализ основан на подходе, предложенном Т. Гарром, автором классического исследования «Почему люди бунтуют», согласно которому протестные общественные настроения, связанные с желанием качественных институциональных изменений, обусловлены, прежде всего, социально-психологическими факторами (в первую очередь, относительной депривацией). Показано, что в современной России сторонники перемен действительно сильнее приверженцев стабильности фрустрированы своим социальным статусом. Кроме того, у сторонников перемен несколько шире набор жизненных планов, они чаще приверженцев стабильности хотели бы достичь неординарного успеха в жизни. В то же время им относительно реже удавалось в прошлом реализовывать желаемые жизненные модели. Сторонники и противники институциональных изменений по-разному воспринимают общественные процессы, происходящие в стране: сторонники перемен менее склонны оценивать уже произошедшие в стране изменения как позитивные, а будущие перспективы рисуются им в более мрачных тонах, чем приверженцам стабильности. Отмеченные тенденции характеризуют рост предпосылок для очередного качественного изменения «правил игры» в России, но пока они соответствуют ситуации не острой фазы национального кризиса, а скорее ситуации неопределенности, ожидания новых событий.
Process-tracing in social science is a method for studying causal mechanisms linking causes with outcomes. This enables the researcher to make strong inferences about how a cause (or set of causes) contributes to producing an outcome. Derek Beach and Rasmus Brun Pedersen introduce a refined definition of process-tracing, differentiating it into three distinct variants and explaining the applications and limitations of each. The authors develop the underlying logic of process-tracing, including how one should understand causal mechanisms and how Bayesian logic enables strong within-case inferences. They provide instructions for identifying the variant of process-tracing most appropriate for the research question at hand and a set of guidelines for each stage of the research process. © 2019 by Derek Beach and Rasmus Brun Pedersen. All rights reserved.