Identity Constellations, Political Exclusion/Inclusion, and Internal Armed Conflicts

Research question/goal: 

The goal of this project has been to determine the risk of internal armed conflict based on the multidimensional identity constellation of a society and the identity of its government.  Compared to previous studies, this project combines the idea of political favoritism with a multidimensional identity perspective. Additionally, it provides a formal backing to the question of which group will be the biggest violent challenger in a society. In a first step, the project has developed a formal model that predicts which potential challengers to the current government every individual of a society will support, if any. The choice is based on the individuals’ own identities, the promises that potential challengers make, and the probability of winning the political contest, the latter of which depends on all other individuals’ choices. Once the degree of support for all potential challengers is known, it is possible to assess the likely amount of violent conflict that a society will experience. A simple version of this model shows that individuals support the smallest of all identity groups to which they belong. A more elaborate version increases the success probability disproportionately with the size of the group so that extra gains accrue from inter-group cooperation. Here, the results are not easy to predict and crucially depend on a country’s unique population shares of the different identity groups and the government in place. In a second step, the project has prepared a macro dataset on the population shares of multidimensional identity groups and the identity of the current government for over 60 countries. First empirical tests strongly confirm the claim that the risk of internal armed conflict can be predicted based on the multidimensional identity constellation of a society and the government’s orientation.

Fact sheet

2009 to 2013
Data Sources: 
Macro data on the demography, political exclusion/inclusion
Geographic Space: