Horizontal Inequality, Crosscutting Cleavages, and Civil War

Abstract

In this article, the authors bring together research on horizontal inequality, geographic dispersion of ethnic groups and crosscutting cleavages to present a more holistic theory of ethnic structure and civil war onset. The authors argue that rebel leaders are thwarted in their mobilization efforts in highly crosscutting societies due to a lower probability of potential combatants identifying with nationalist goals, decreased ability to exert social control, and diminished in-group communication. Using cross-national data from over 100 countries, the authors provide evidence that civil war onset is an average of nearly twelve times less probable in societies where ethnicity is crosscut by socioeconomic class, geographic region, and religion.

Publication
Journal of Conflict Resolution