Transborder Ethnic Kin and Civil War

Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 31 Aug 2011

See all articles by Lars-Erik Cederman

Lars-Erik Cederman

ETH Zürich

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex; International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)

Idean Salehyan

University of North Texas; International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO); University of Texas at Austin - Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law; Southern Methodist University (SMU) - John G. Tower Center for Political Studies

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

A series of studies has shown that civil wars are caused not only by factors inside countries, but also by effects operating across state borders. Whereas a first wave of quantitative studies demonstrated that such effects make the “closed-polity” assumption untenable, more recently researchers have identified particular causal mechanisms driving conflict. Despite these recent advances, a central puzzle remains unresolved, namely that ethnic groups that at least in theory could count on support from large transborder ethnic kin (TEK) groups often have remained surprisingly peaceful, such as the stranded Russian populations in the “near abroad.” We propose a theoretical framework that extends the analysis from the primary dyad between the incumbent and the challenger group by adding a secondary dyad that pits the incumbent against the TEK group. Postulating a curvilinear effect of the TEK group’s relative size on conflict onset, we use a new dataset on transnational ethnic links. Consistent with our main hypothesis, we find that that the risk of conflict increases within the middle range of the size spectrum. Moreover, our results suggest that there is a higher net effect for excluded, as opposed to included, TEK groups compared to situations featuring no such link.

Keywords: civil war, transnational relations, transborder ethnic kin

Suggested Citation

Cederman, Lars-Erik and Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede and Salehyan, Idean, Transborder Ethnic Kin and Civil War (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1900747

Lars-Erik Cederman (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
8092 Zurich, CH-1015
Switzerland

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)

Oslo
N-0260 Oslo
Norway

Idean Salehyan

University of North Texas ( email )

1155 Union Circle #305340
Denton, TX 76203
United States

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) ( email )

Oslo
N-0260 Oslo
Norway

University of Texas at Austin - Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law ( email )

2315 Red River Street
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - John G. Tower Center for Political Studies ( email )

PO Box 750117
Dallas, TX 75275-0117
United States

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