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Incentives and Opportunities: A Complexity-oriented Explanation of Violent Ethnic Conflict
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9831-0573
2014 (English)In: Journal of Peace Research, ISSN 0022-3433, E-ISSN 1460-3578, Vol. 51, no 6, p. 696-710Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Existing research on the causes of violent ethnic conflict is characterized by an enduring debate on whether theseconflicts are the result of deeply felt grievances or the product of an opportunity structure in which rebellion isan attractive and/or viable option. This article argues that the question of whether incentive- or opportunity-based explanations of conflict have more explanatory power is fundamentally misguided, as conflict is more likelythe result of a complex interaction of both. The fact is, however, that there is little generalized knowledge about theseinteractions. This study aims to fill this gap and applies crisp-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in order toidentify constellations of risk factors that are conducive to ethnic conflict. The results demonstrate the explanatoryleverage gained by taking causal complexity in the form of risk patterns into account. It takes no more than fourdifferent configurations of a total of eight conditions to reliably explain almost two-thirds of all ethnic conflict onsetsbetween 1990 and 2009. Moreover, these four configurations are quasi-sufficient for onset, leading to conflictin 88% of all cases covered. The QCA model generated in this article also fares well in predicting conflictsin-sample and out-of-sample, with the in-sample predictions being more precise than those generated by a simplebinary logistic regression.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 51, no 6, p. 696-710
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331091DOI: 10.1177/0022343314534458OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331091DiVA, id: diva2:1148288
Available from: 2017-10-10 Created: 2017-10-10 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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