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Dangerous Neighbours, Regional Territorial Conflict and the Democratic Peace

  • Douglas M. Gibler and Alex Braithwaite
Abstract

The likelihood of conflict and the observation of joint democracy tend to cluster regionally. This article tests the argument that these clusters can be explained by regional variations in the stability of international borders using a new dataset of territorial dispute hot spots from 1960–1998. These hot spots identify spatial and temporal correlations in the territorial dispute data and therefore serve as close proxies for regional or neighbourhood instability. The addition of these hot spots also eliminates a common form of omitted variable bias – the spatial clustering of conflict – in international conflict models. These results confirm that joint democracy is only statistically significant as a predictor of fatal militarized interstate disputes in more peaceful neighbourhoods once territorial hot spots are jointly estimated. The interaction between joint democracy and regional instability confirms that the effects of regime type on continued conflict apply mostly to dyads in peaceful regions.

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Douglas Gibler is Professor of Political Science and Arts and Sciences Leadership Board Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (email: dmgibler@bama.ua.edu); Alex Braithwaite is Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University College, London (email: alex.braithwaite@ucl.ac.uk). We are grateful to Kristian Gleditsch and to three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments, which improved this article greatly. Gibler also thanks the HF Guggenheim Foundation for their generous research support of the Bordering on Peace project during the completion of part of this manuscript. Replication data are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S000712341200052X.

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1 Braithwaite, Alex, Conflict Hot Spots: Emergence, Causes, and Consequences (Farnham: Ashgate Press, 2010)

2 King, Gary, ‘Proper Nouns and Methodological Propriety: Pooling Dyads in International Relations Data’, International Organization, 55 (2001), 497507

3 Gibler, Douglas M., The Territorial Peace: Borders, State Development, and International Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Gibler, Douglas M. and Tir, Jaroslav, ‘Settled Borders and Regime Type: Democratic Transitions as Consequences of Peaceful Territorial Transfers’, American Journal of Political Science, 54 (2010), 951968

4 Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, All International Politics is Local: The Diffusion of Conflict, Integration, and Democratization (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002)

5 Karl W. Deutsch, The Analysis of International Relations, 2nd ed, (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1979)

6 Gleditsch, All International Politics is Local.

7 Kadera, Kelly M., Crescenzi, Mark J. and Shannon, Megan L., ‘Democratic Survival, Peace, and War in the International System’, American Journal of Political Science, 47 (2003): 234247

8 Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede and Ward, Michael D., ‘Diffusion and the International Context of Democratization’, International Organization, 60 (2006), 911933

9 Russett, Bruce M. and Oneal, John R., Triangulating Peace: Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001)

10 Pevehouse, Jon C., ‘With a Little Help from My Friends? Regional Organizations and the Consolidation of Democracy’, American Journal of Political Science, 46 (2002), 611626

11 Kacowicz, Arie M., Zones of Peace in the Third World: South America and West Africa in Comparative Perspective (Buffalo: State University of New York Press, 1998)

12 Gleditsch, All International Politics is Local, pp. 140–142

13 Henderson, Errol A., Democracy and War: the End of an Illusion? (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 2002)

14 Goldsmith, Benjamin E., ‘A Universal Proposition? Region, Conflict, War and the Robustness of the Kantian Peace’, European Journal of International Relations, 12 (2006), p. 533

15 Thompson, William, ‘Democracy and Peace: Putting the Cart before the Horse?’, International Organization, 50 (1996), 141174

16 Gibler, The Territorial Peace.

17 Hutchison, Marc L. and Gibler, Douglas M., ‘Political Tolerance and Territorial Threat: A Cross-National Study’, Journal of Politics, 69 (2007), 128142

Gibler, Douglas M., ‘Outside-in: The Effects of External Threat on State Centralization’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 54 (2010), p. 519

18 See Gibler, The Territorial Peace, for complete tests of each of these mechanisms in the development of a centralized state.

19 Gibler and Tir, ‘Settled Borders and Regime Type’.

20 Ghosn, Faten, Palmer, Glenn and Bremer, Stuart A., ‘The MID3 Data Set, 1993–2001: Procedures, Coding Rules, and Description’, Conflict Management and Peace Science, 21 (2004), p. 133

21 Russett and Oneal, Triangulating Peace.

22 Houweling, Henk W. and Siccama, Jan G., ‘The Epidemiology of War, 1816–1980’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 29 (1985), p. 641

Siverson, Randolph M. and Starr, Harvey, The Diffusion of War: A Study of Opportunity and Willingness (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1991)

23 Braithwaite, Alex, ‘Location, Location, Location...Identifying Conflict Hot Spots’, International Interactions, 31 (2005), 251272

24 Braithwaite, ‘Location, Location, Location’.

25 Braithwaite, Alex and Li, Quan, ‘Transnational Terrorism Hot Spots: Identification and Impact Evaluation’, Conflict Management and Peace Science, 24 (2007), 281296

26 Kirby, Andrew M. and Ward, Michael D., ‘The Spatial Analysis of Peace and War’, Comparative Political Studies, 20 (1987), p. 293

Ward, Michael D. and Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, ‘Location, Location, Location: An MCMC Approach to Modeling the Spatial Context of War and Peace’, Political Analysis, 10 (2002), p. 244

27 Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede and Ward, Michael D., ‘War and Peace in Space and Time: The Role of Democratization’, International Studies Quarterly, 44 (2000), 129

28 Braithwaite, Alex, ‘MIDLOC: Introducing the Militarized Interstate Dispute Location dataset’, Journal of Peace Research, 47 (2010), 9198

29 For a more complete discussion of the conceptualization of a hot spot, see Braithwaite, Conflict Hot Spots.

30 Gleditsch, All International Politics is Local.

31 Braithwaite and Li, ‘Transnational Terrorism Hot Spots’.

32 Ord, John K. and Getis, Arthur, ‘Local Spatial Autocorrelation Statistics: Distributional Issues and an Application’, Geographical Analysis, 27 (1995), 286306

33 We use a common measure of contiguity/proximity in defining the spatial weights matrix, wij: direct, first-order land contiguity.

34 Ord and Getis, ‘Local Spatial Autocorrelation Statistics’.

35 Monty G. Marshall and Keith Jaggers, Polity IV Project: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800–1999 (University of Maryland, Center for International Development and Conflict Management, 2002)

36 Dixon, William J., ‘Democracy and the Peaceful Settlement of International Conflict’, American Political Science Review, 88 (1994), 1432

Oneal, John R. and Russett, Bruce M., ‘The Classical Liberals Were Right: Democracy, Interdependence, and Conflict, 1950–1985’, International Studies Quarterly, 41 (1997), 267293

37 See, for example, Gleditsch, All International Politics is Local.

38 Gleditsch and Ward, ‘Diffusion and the International Context of Democratization’.

39 Stinnett, Douglas M., Tir, Jaroslav, Schafer, Philip, Diehl, Paul F. and Gochman, Charles, ‘The Correlates of War Project Direct Contiguity Data, Version 3’, Conflict Management and Peace Science, 19 (2002), 5866

40 Gibler, Douglas M. and Sarkees, Meredith Reid, ‘Measuring Alliances: The Correlates of War Formal Interstate Alliance Dataset, 1816–2000’, Journal of Peace Research, 41 (2004), 211222

41 Singer, David J., Bremer, Stuart A. and Stuckey, John, ‘Capability Distribution, Uncertainty, and Major Power War, 1820–1965’, in Bruce Russett, ed., Peace, War and Numbers (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, Inc., 1972)

42 Beck, Nathaniel, Katz, Jonathan N. and Tucker, Richard, ‘Taking Time Seriously: Time-Series-Cross-Section Analysis with a Binary Dependent Variable’, American Journal of Political Science, 42 (1998), 12601288

43 Oneal, John R., Russett, Bruce and Berbaum, Michael L., ‘Causes of Peace: Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations, 1885–1992’, International Studies Quarterly, 47 (2003), 371393

44 Brambor, Thomas, Clark, William Roberts and Golder, Matt, ‘Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses’, Political Analysis, 14 (2006), 6382

* Douglas Gibler is Professor of Political Science and Arts and Sciences Leadership Board Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (email: ); Alex Braithwaite is Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University College, London (email: ). We are grateful to Kristian Gleditsch and to three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments, which improved this article greatly. Gibler also thanks the HF Guggenheim Foundation for their generous research support of the Bordering on Peace project during the completion of part of this manuscript. Replication data are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S000712341200052X.

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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