Economic Globalization and Civil War

Authors

  • Katherine Barbieri,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of South Carolina
      Katherine Barbieri (katherine.barbieri@sc.edu) is associate professor of political science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.
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  • Rafael Reuveny

    Corresponding author
    1. Indiana University
      Rafael Reuveny (rreuveny@indiana.edu) is associate professor of political economy, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-1701.
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Katherine Barbieri (katherine.barbieri@sc.edu) is associate professor of political science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.

Rafael Reuveny (rreuveny@indiana.edu) is associate professor of political economy, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-1701.

Abstract

In recent decades, the number of countries with ongoing civil wars and the share of these countries in the international system have increased dramatically. At the same time, the scope of economic globalization has also increased. Are these trends related? The theoretical literature on the determinants of civil wars presents conflicting views about the effects of globalization on such wars. One view expects economic globalization to reduce the likelihood of civil wars, ceteris paribus. A second view expects the opposite. A third view implies that globalization does not necessarily affect the likelihood of civil war. Progress in assessing the validity of these arguments requires confronting them with data. However, so far economic globalization has been included as a control variable in a very small number of studies, and only trade was inspected. This paper statistically investigates the effect of several aspects of globalization on civil war from a large-N, time-series, cross-sectional sample. The occurrence of civil war is measured in two ways: the presence of civil war (or civil war prevalence) and the breakdown of civil war (or civil war onset). Economic globalization is measured by the flows of trade, foreign direct investment, portfolio investment, and Internet use. We find that economic forms of globalization reduce the likelihood of civil war, but that Internet use does not affect its likelihood. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the implications of these findings for public policy and for future research.

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