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Do Major-Power Interventions Encourage the Onset of Civil Conflict? A Structural Analysis

Gibilisco, Michael and Montero, Sergio (2022) Do Major-Power Interventions Encourage the Onset of Civil Conflict? A Structural Analysis. Journal of Politics, 84 (2). pp. 944-959. ISSN 0022-3816. doi:10.1086/715602.

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What is the impact of major-power intervention on civil-war onset? A considerable hurdle to answering this question is gauging expectations about future intervention on the eve of conflict. We tackle this challenge by developing a unified theoretical and empirical model of civil-war onset and subsequent intervention. Our model allows for strategic interdependence among interveners, and our empirical strategy enables estimation of intervention expectations from equilibrium behavior. We fit the model to civil war and intervention data from the second half of the twentieth century and find that major-power intervention is primarily characterized by strategic complementarities—for example, cost sharing among allies or competition for control among rivals—rather than free-riding incentives. Through counterfactual experiments, we show that commitments to decreased intervention would raise the risk of civil war worldwide, whereas increased intervention would have little effect. Our results suggest that coordination among major powers is maximally deterring civil conflict.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Gibilisco, Michael0000-0002-6484-1314
Montero, Sergio0000-0003-4242-3362
Additional Information:© 2022 Southern Political Science Association. Published online February 11, 2022. We thank Allison Carnegie, Rob Carroll, Casey Crisman-Cox, Federico Echenique, Hein Goemans, Phil Hoffman, Gleason Judd, Tasos Kalandrakis, Brenton Kenkel, Bethany Lacina, Jason Lyall, Peter Schram, Matt Shum, Brad Smith, Randy Stone, Jessica Sun, Yi Xin, and audiences at APSA, California Institute of Technology, New York University, University of Rochester, and the Formal Models in International Relations conference for very helpful comments. Previous versions of this paper circulated under the title “Is Civil War Focal? Expectations about Major-Power Intervention.”
Subject Keywords:civil war; intervention; strategic spillovers; structural estimation
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220322-742518000
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Official Citation:Do Major-Power Interventions Encourage the Onset of Civil Conflict? A Structural Analysis. Michael Gibilisco and Sergio Montero. The Journal of Politics 2022 84:2, 944-959;
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114012
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Mar 2022 14:08
Last Modified:03 May 2022 17:31

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