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Civil War Diffusion and the Emergence of Militant Groups, 1960-2001

Civil War Diffusion and the Emergence of Militant Groups, 1960-2001


In this research note, I argue that scholars of the international diffusion of civil conflict would benefit from directly measuring rebel mobilization prior to the onset of civil war. To better understand the way in which international processes facilitate dissidents overcoming the collective action problem inherent in rebellion, I focus on militant organizations and model the timing of their emergence. I use several data sets on militant groups and violent nonstate actors and rely on Buhaug and Gleditsch’s (2008) causal framework to examine how international conditions predict militant group emergence. While Buhaug and Gleditsch conclude that civil war diffusion is primarily a function of internal conflict in neighboring states, once militant group emergence is substituted in the dependent variable, I observe that global conditions affect rebel collective action. A final selection model links militant groups with civil conflict onset and demonstrates the variable performance of diffusion effects. The results indicate that many rebels mobilize in response to more global events and then escalate their behavior in response to local conditions.

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Full Citation: 

Linebarger, Christopher. 2015. "Civil War Diffusion and the Emergence of Militant Groups, 1960-2001." International Interactions: Empirical and Theoretical Research in International Relations 41 (May): 583-600. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03050629.2015.984809

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