Income varies considerably within countries and the locations where conflicts emerge are rarely typical or representative for states at large. Yet, most research on conflict has only examined national income averages and neglected spatial variation. The authors argue that civil conflicts are more likely to erupt in areas with low absolute income, even if a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is not necessarily low, and in areas with large deviations from national averages. The authors test these hypotheses empirically using spatially disaggregated data on the location of conflict outbreaks and per capita income estimates. The authors find that areas with absolute poverty indeed see more outbreaks of conflict, and they find some evidence that inequality increases the risk of conflict. Subnational information can improve on conventional country-based measures and help our understanding of how local features and variation can give rise to mobilization and violence.
Conflict appears more often between neighboring states. Adjacency generates interaction opportunities and arguably more willingness to fight. We revisit the nature of the border issue and measure geographical features likely to affect states’ interaction opportunities as well as their willingness to fight. We do so for all on-shore borders from the period 1946–2001. Although each border is unique, a general result shows that the longer the border between two states, the more likely they are to engage in low-intensity conflict. This is particularly so for conflicts active during the Cold War and located in highly populated border regions.
Although the case-based literature suggests that kin groups are prominent in ethnonationalist conflicts, quantitative studies of civil war onset have both overaggregated and underaggregated the role of ethnicity, by looking at civil war at the country level instead of among specific groups and by treating individual countries as closed units, ignoring groups’ transnational links. In this article the authors integrate transnational links into a dyadic perspective on conflict between marginalized ethnic groups and governments. They argue that transnational links can increase the risk of conflict as transnational kin support can facilitate insurgencies and are difficult for governments to target or deter. The empirical analysis, using new geocoded data on ethnic groups on a transnational basis, indicates that the risk of conflict is high when large, excluded ethnic groups have transnational kin in neighboring countries, and it provides strong support for the authors’ propositions on the importance of transnational ties in ethnonationalist conflict.