Conflict Environments and Civil War Onset

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<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>The spread of civil war poses serious risks and costs. We argue that conflict environments, which vary across time and space, systematically exacerbate the spread of civil war. As conflict in a state’s neighborhood becomes more spatially proximate and as lingering effects of conflict accumulate over time, that state’s risk of civil war onset increases. To theorize and test this argument, we construct the conflict environment (CE) score, a concept that taps into spatial and temporal dimensions of violence in a state’s neighborhood. Using the CE score in established empirical models of civil war onset, we demonstrate that a dangerous conflict environment consistently elevates the risk of civil war, outperforming traditional measures of nearby violence, even when domestic factors are taken into account.</jats:p>






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Reid, Lindsay, Rachel Myrick, Kelly M Kadera and Mark JC Crescenzi (n.d.). Conflict Environments and Civil War Onset. Journal of Global Security Studies. 10.1093/jogss/ogz064 Retrieved from

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Rachel Myrick

Douglas and Ellen Lowey Assistant Professor of Political Science

Rachel Myrick is the Douglas and Ellen Lowey Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke. Her research explores how partisan polarization affects foreign policymaking in democratic states, with an emphasis on U.S. national security policy. More broadly, she is interested in the interplay between domestic and international politics in matters of security and conflict. Her research is published at International Organization , The Journal of Politics, and International Studies Quarterly, among others.

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