Civilian Victimization and Ethnic Civil War

Journal Article (Journal Article)

While many studies provide insights into the causes of wartime civilian victimization, we know little about how the targeting of particular segments of the civilian population affects the onset and escalation of armed conflict. Previous research on conflict onset has been largely limited to structural variables, both theoretically and empirically. Moving beyond these static approaches, this article assesses how the state-led targeting of specific ethnic groups affects the likelihood of ethnic conflict onset and the evolution of conflicts once they break out. Relying on a new data set with global coverage that captures the ethnic identity of civilian victims of targeted violence, we find evidence that the state-led civilian victimization of particular ethnic groups increases the likelihood that the latter become involved in ethnic civil war. We also find tentative, yet more nuanced, evidence that ethnic targeting by state forces affects the escalation of ongoing conflicts.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cederman, LE; Hug, S; Schubiger, LI; Villamil, F

Published Date

  • August 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 64 / 7-8

Start / End Page

  • 1199 - 1225

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-8766

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0027

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0022002719898873

Citation Source

  • Scopus