Redemption through Rebellion: Border Change, Lost Unity and Nationalist Conflict

Americal Journal of Political Science (Forthcoming).
Are historical border changes responsible for contemporary civil conflicts? While the literature has analyzed ethnic civil wars quite extensively within a state framework, it has difficulties dealing with important consequences of border change, such as division and irredentism. Therefore, we use transnational ethnic groups as our unit of analysis, which we define without regard to interstate borders. This conceptualization allows us to examine how border changes affect the territorial fragmentation of ethnic groups. We argue that the level of territorial fragmentation, as well as its increase due to past losses of unity, are associated with a higher risk of civil conflict. We also account for other conflict causes that are unrelated to grievances. We combine data on ethnic settlement areas with new geocoded data on international borders since 1886, in order to trace the territorial fragmentation of ethnic groups over time. Overall, we find robust support for our hypotheses.
Cederman, Lars-Erik, Seraina Rüegger, and Guy Schvitz. 2020. “Redemption through Rebellion: Border Change, Lost Unity and Nationalist Conflict.” Americal Journal of Political Science (Forthcoming).
@article{redemption-through-rebellion,
   abstract = {Are historical border changes responsible for contemporary civil conflicts? While the literature has analyzed ethnic civil wars quite extensively within a state framework, it has difficulties dealing with important consequences of border change, such as division and irredentism. Therefore, we use transnational ethnic groups as our unit of analysis, which we define without regard to interstate borders. This conceptualization allows us to examine how border changes affect the territorial fragmentation of ethnic groups. We argue that the level of territorial fragmentation, as well as its increase due to past losses of unity, are associated with a higher risk of civil conflict. We also account for other conflict causes that are unrelated to grievances. We combine data on ethnic settlement areas with new geocoded data on international borders since 1886, in order to trace the territorial fragmentation of ethnic groups over time. Overall, we find robust support for our hypotheses.},
   author = {Cederman, Lars-Erik and R{\"{u}}egger, Seraina and Schvitz, Guy},
   journal = {Americal Journal of Political Science (Forthcoming)},
   title = {{Redemption through Rebellion: Border Change, Lost Unity and Nationalist Conflict}},
   year = {2020}
}