Autocratic institutions and civil conflict contagion

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35 Scopus citations


We offer an account of civil conflict contagion in which we argue that in peaceful neighborhoods autocracies that provide an opportunity for legal participation in domestic politics-via elected legislatures-are able to offset violent demands for change from domestic opposition groups. We add, however, the expectation that these openings in the political institutions of the country are insufficient to appease renewed opposition demands in autocracies located in conflict-ridden neighborhoods. We suggest that this is because of the threat of externalities from nearby conflicts, as well as the likelihood that domestic opposition groups will emulate violent examples set overseas. Thus, conflict contagion affects autocracies with legislatures that reside in neighborhoods with ongoing civil conflicts. We test this claim via multivariate probit analyses in which conflict onset is a function of institutional design at the country level and conflict within the neighborhood. These analyses offer support for our test hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-490
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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