Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"How Persistent is Civil War?"

Professor David D. Laitin
Professor at Stanford University

"How Persistent is Civil War?”
By James D. Fearon and David Laitin
Jim Fearon and David Laitin in this paper assess the degree of persistence in armed conflict in particular places over the last two centuries, asking in addition if conflict-ridden places have durable features – social, demographic or geographical – that explain persistence, or whether armed conflict at one time has a causal effect on propensity for armed conflict at later times. For all types of war in the Correlates of War and the Breke datasets, they code the territories on which the armed conflict occurred. The data reveal significant levels of persistence in territories that experienced extra-state (imperial and colonial) and non-state wars in an earlier era. Exogenous features such as geography and pre-1800 demography are important in explaining where conflicts persist. However there remains significant persistence controlling for geographic and demographic features. In particular, extra-state wars before 1945 are strongly related to civil war after 1945. This persistence does not appear to arise from the long-run enmity of particular groups that fight repeatedly over centuries. They highlight that while some war types may induce state-building, other war types appear to be state-destroying.

Friday, October 25, 2013
11:00am - 12:30pm
McKeldin, Special Events Room 6137
(a light reception to follow)


David D. Laitin is the Watkins Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Laitin’s research focus, having conducted field research in Somalia, Nigeria, Spain, Estonia and France, is on issues of language and religion and how these cultural phenomena link nation to state.  He has published five books and numerous articles on ethnicity, ethnic cooperation, civil war, and terrorism. Most recently, Dr. Laitin conducted a survey and did experimental research on Muslim integration into France with initial results published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (2010).

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