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There Can Be No Compromise: Institutional Inclusiveness, Fractionalization and Domestic Terrorism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2012

Abstract

Research on terrorism in democracies borrows from the literature on civil war and rebellion to argue that more proportional representation decreases the likelihood of terrorist violence. However, theories of broader social mobilization may be ill-suited to predicting the occurrence of terrorism. This article proposes that proportionalism's institutionalization of small minority groups as legitimate but relatively insignificant political actors leads to militancy. Analyses of the Global Terrorism Database on domestic terrorist attacks across all democracies in 1975–2007 provide broad support for this argument. The presence and greater degrees of proportionalism are significantly associated with greater levels of domestic terrorism when ethnic fractionalization within a given society increases. Moreover, domestic terrorism increases as the number of small parties represented in the legislature increases.

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Articles
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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012 

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Footnotes

*

Department of International Studies and Political Science, Virginia Military Institute (email: fosterdm@vmi.edu); Department of Political Science, University College London; Department of Political Science, Louisiana State University, respectively. Previous versions of this article were presented at the International Studies Association Annual Conventions, Montreal, 2011, and San Diego, 2012. Support for this research was provided by a Grant-in-Aid of Research from the Virginia Military Institute. For their insightful and valuable comments, the authors would like to thank Kristian Gleditsch and numerous anonymous reviewers at BJPS, Erica Chenoweth and Howard Sanborn. Replication data can be found at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=JPS.

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49 In unreported analyses, we include the Least Squares Index of disproportionality (or LSI), which measures the disparity between the distribution of votes for various electoral parties in an election and the distribution of seat allocation in parliament, thus essentially reflecting the degree to which electoral parties become parliamentary parties (see Michael Gallagher, ‘Proportionality, Disproportionality and Electoral Systems’, Electoral Studies, 10 (1991), 33–51). This, too, is not significantly associated with domestic terrorism.

50 Though no hypothesis is made about the direct relationship between ELF and terrorism, it is worth noting that that relationship is statistically insignificant.

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