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

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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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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1 Eubank William and Weinberg Leonard, ‘Does Democracy Encourage Terrorism?’ Terrorism and Political Violence, 6 (1994), 417–43.

Eubank William and Weinberg Leonard, ‘Terrorism and Democracy: Perpetrators and Victims’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 13 (2001), 155–64.

2 Eyerman Joseph, ‘Terrorism and Democratic States: Soft Targets or Accessible Systems?’ International Interactions, 24 (1998), 151–70.

3 Crenshaw Martha, ‘The Causes of Terrorism’, Comparative Politics, 13 (1981), 379–99.

Schmid Alex P., ‘Terrorism and Democracy’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 4 (1992), 1425.

Ross Jeffrey Ian, ‘Structural Causes of Oppositional Political Terrorism: Towards a Causal Model’, Journal of Peace Research, 30 (1993), 317–29.

Enders Walter and Sandler Todd, The Political Economy of Terrorism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

4 Huber John D. and Powell G. Bingham, ‘Congruence Between Citizens and Policymakers in Two Visions of Liberal Democracy’, World Politics, 46 (1994), 291326.

Reynal-Querol Marta, ‘Political Systems, Stability, and Civil Wars’, Defence and Peace Economics, 13 (2002), 465–83.

Li Quan, ‘Does Democracy Promote or Reduce Transnational Terrorism?’ Journal of Conflict Resolution, 49 (2005), 278–97.

5 Duverger Maurice, Political Parties: Their Organization and Activity in Modern States (New York: John Wiley, 1954).

6 Li, ‘Does Democracy Promote or Reduce Transnational Terrorism?’ p. 284.

7 Clark William R. and Golder Matt, ‘Rehabilitating Duverger's Theory: Testing the Mechanical and Strategic Modifying Effects of Electoral Laws’, Comparative Political Studies, 39 (2006), 679708.

8 Sartori Giovanni, Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis (Colchester, Essex: ECPR Press, 2005).

9 Indridason Indridi H., ‘Proportional Representation, Majoritarian Legislatures, and Coalitional Voting’, American Journal of Political Science, 55 (2011), 954–70.

10 Wilkinson Paul, Terrorism and the Liberal State (London: Macmillan, 2001).

Pape Robert A., Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (New York: Random House, 2005).

11 Bell J. Bowyer, On Revolt: Strategies of National Liberation (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976).

12 Hoffman Bruce, Inside Terrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006).

13 Robert Moss, Urban Guerrillas: The New Face of Political Violence (London: Maurice Temple Smith, 1972).

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Hamilton Lawrence C. and Hamilton James D., ‘Dynamics of Terrorism’, International Studies Quarterly, 27 (1983), 3954.

Hewitt Christopher, Consequences of Political Violence (Aldershot, Surrey: Dartmouth, 1983).

14 Sandler Todd, ‘On the Relationship between Democracy and Terrorism’, Terrorism and Political Violence, 12 (1995), 97122.

15 Eyerman, ‘Terrorism and Democratic States’, p. 154.

16 Schmid, ‘Terrorism and Democracy’, p. 17; Ross, ‘Structural Causes of Oppositional Political Terrorism’, p. 322.

17 Reynal-Querol, ‘Political Systems, Stability, and Civil Wars’, p. 479. See also: Huber and Powell, ‘Congruence Between Citizens and Policymakers in Two Visions of Liberal Democracy’, p. 298.

18 Li, ‘Does Democracy Promote or Reduce Transnational Terrorism?’, p. 291.

19 Aksoy and Carter, ‘Electoral Institutions and the Emergence of Terrorist Groups’, p. 19.

20 Clark and Golder, ‘Rehabilitating Duverger's Theory’, p. 682.

21 Reynal-Querol, ‘Political Systems, Stability, and Civil Wars’, p. 472.

22 Indridason, ‘Proportional Representation, Majoritarian Legislatures, and Coalitional Voting’, p. 968.

23 Sartori, Parties and Party Systems, pp. 111–16.

24 Manuel Álvarez-Rivera, ‘Election Resources on the Internet: Elections to the Spanish Congress of Deputies’, (online at: http://electionresources.org/es/index_en.html, 2012).

25 Riker William H., ‘The Two-Party System and Duverger's Law: An Essay on the History of Political Science’, American Political Science Review, 76 [1982], 753–66.

26 Rao M. V. S. Koteswara, Communist Parties and United Front: Experience in Kerala and West Bengal (Hyderabad: Prajasakti, 2003).

27 Following many contributors in the comparative and international politics literatures, we consider a polity to be democratic if its POLITY IV ‘Polity’ (or aggregate Democracy-Autocracy) score is 6 or greater. The number of democratic states in the analysis varies from 87 to 102, depending upon the explanatory variables included.

28 Young Joseph K. and Findley Michael G., ‘Promise and Pitfalls of Terrorism Research’, International Studies Review, 13 (2011), 411–31.

29 National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2011). Global Terrorism Database [Data file]. Retrieved from http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd.

30 Enders WalterSandler Todd and Gaibulloev Khusrav, ‘Domestic versus Transnational Terrorism: Data, Decomposition, and Dynamics’, Journal of Peace Research, 48 (2011), 319–37.

31 Engene Jan Oskar, Terrorism in Western Europe: Explaining the Trends Since 1950 (Cheltenham, Glos.: Edward Elgar, 2004).

32 Maoz Zeev, ‘Evaluating Israel's Strategy of Low-Intensity Conflict, 1949–2006’, Security Studies, 16 (2007), 319–49.

33 Long J. Scott, Regression Models for Categorical and Limited Dependent Variables (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 1997).

34 Zorn Christopher, ‘Generalized Estimating Equation Models for Correlated Data: A Review with Applications’, American Journal of Political Science, 45 (2001), 470–90.

35 Beck Thorsten, Clarke Geoff, Groff Alberto, Keefer Philip, and Walsh Patrick, ‘New Tools in Comparative Political Economy: The Database of Political Institutions’, World Bank Economic Review, 15 (2001), 165–76.

36 Duverger, Political Parties, p. 82.

37 Taagapera Rein and Shugart Matthew S., Seats and Votes: The Effects and Determinants of Electoral Systems (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1989).

38 Charles Lewis Taylor and Michael C. Hudson, World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators, 2nd edn (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1972).

39 Powell G. Bingham, Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000).

40 Box-Steffensmeier Janet M.Boef Suzanna De and Joyce Kyle, ‘Event Dependence and Heterogeneity in Duration Models: The Conditional Frailty Model’, Political Analysis, 15 (2007), 237–56.

41 Singer J. DavidBremer Stuart A. and Stuckey John, ‘Capability Distribution, Uncertainty, and Major Power War, 1820-1965’, in Bruce Russet, ed., Peace, War, and Numbers (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1972), pp. 1948.

42 Alan Heston, Robert Summers and Bettina Aten, Penn World Table, Version 6.3 (Center for International Comparisons of Production, Income and Prices, University of Pennsylvania, 2009).

43 Eubank and Weinberg, ‘Terrorism and Democracy’, p. 113; Eyerman, ‘Terrorism and Democratic States’, p. 159.

44 Li, ‘Does Democracy Promote or Reduce Transnational Terrorism?’ p. 282.

45 Culled from Beck et al., ‘New Tools in Comparative Political Economy’.

46 Enders Walter and Sandler Todd, ‘Transnational Terrorism in the Post-Cold War Era’, International Studies Quarterly, 43 (1999), 145–67.

47 Sarkees Meredith R. and Wayman Frank, Resort to War, 1816–2007 (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2010).

48 With the exception of Aksoy and Carter, ‘Electoral Institutions and the Emergence of Terrorist Groups’.

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.

51 Brambor ThomasClark William R. and Golder Matt, ‘Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses’, Political Analysis, 14 (2006), 63–82.

52 The list of countries that spent one or more years with an overall mean district magnitude at or above 28 is as follows: the Netherlands, Israel, South Africa, Russia, Lebanon, Mexico, Colombia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Guyana, Senegal and Moldova.

53 Sartori, Parties and Party Systems, p. 116; Stephen C. Nemeth and Howard Sanborn, ‘The Effects of Elections and Parties on the Number of Domestic Terrorist Incidents, 1998–2006’ (paper presented at the International Studies Association Convention, New York, 2009).

* Department of International Studies and Political Science, Virginia Military Institute (email: ); 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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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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