Get access

Antigovernment Networks in Civil Conflicts: How Network Structures Affect Conflictual Behavior


  • Nils W. Metternich is Lecturer in International Relations at University College London, Department of Political Science, The Rubin Building, 29/30 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9QU, UK ( Cassy Dorff (, Max Gallop (, and Simon Weschle ( are Ph. D. students, Department of Political Science, Duke University, 140 Science Drive, Room 208, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708. Michael D. Ward is Professor of Political Science, Duke University 140 Science Drive, Room 208, Box 90204, Durham, NC 27708 (

  • This project was undertaken in the framework of an initiative funded by the Information Processing Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency aimed at producing models to provide an Integrated Crisis Early Warning System (ICEWS) for decision makers in the U.S. defense community. The holding grant is to the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Contract FA8650-07-C-7749. For helpful insights, we thank Scott de Marchi, Florian Hollenbach, Jan Pierskalla, and Anna Schultz. All the bad ideas and mistakes are our own. An earlier version was presented at the 2011 conference “Theory and Methods in the Study of Civil War,” Centre for the Study of Civil War, PRIO, Oslo. All data and replication files can be found at as well as at


In this article, we combine a game-theoretic treatment of public goods provision in networks with a statistical network analysis to show that fragmented opposition network structures lead to an increase in conflictual actions. Current literature concentrates on the dyadic relationship between the government and potential challengers. We shift the focus toward exploring how network structures affect the strategic behavior of political actors. We derive and examine testable hypotheses and use latent space analysis to infer actors’ positions vis-à-vis each other in the network. Network structure is examined and used to test our hypotheses with data on conflicts in Thailand from 2001 to 2010. We show the influential role of network structure in generating conflictual behavior.