I thank Navin Bapet, David Cunningham, Bill Reed, and Agatha Hultquist, as well as five anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Earlier versions of this article were presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.
Actor Fragmentation and Civil War Bargaining: How Internal Divisions Generate Civil Conflict
Version of Record online: 18 MAR 2013
©2013, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 57, Issue 3, pages 659–672, July 2013
How to Cite
Cunningham, K. G. (2013), Actor Fragmentation and Civil War Bargaining: How Internal Divisions Generate Civil Conflict. American Journal of Political Science, 57: 659–672. doi: 10.1111/ajps.12003
- Issue online: 1 JUL 2013
- Version of Record online: 18 MAR 2013
Wars within states have become much more common than wars between them. A dominant approach to understanding civil war assumes that opposition movements are unitary, when empirically, most of them are not. I develop a theory for how internal divisions within opposition movements affect their ability to bargain with the state and avoid conflict. I argue that more divided movements generate greater commitment and information problems, thus making civil war more likely. I test this expectation using new annual data on the internal structure of opposition movements seeking self-determination. I find that more divided movements are much more likely to experience civil war onset and incidence. This analysis suggests that the assumption that these movements are unitary has severely limited our understanding of when these disputes degenerate into civil wars.