The effect of political regime on civil war: Unpacking anocracy

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Research published in the American Political Science Review shows that anocracies-as defined by the middle of the Polity index of political regime-are more susceptible to civil war than are either pure democracies or pure dictatorships. Yet, certain components of the Polity index include a factional category, where political competition is ''intense, hostile, and frequently violent. Extreme factionalism may be manifested in the establishment of rival governments and in civil war'' (Gurr 1989, 12). Not surprisingly, these components exhibit a strong relationship with civil war. When they are removed from the Polity index, however, the original relationship disappears. I conclude that the original finding is not driven by the relationship between political institutions and civil war but rather by a less provocative relationship between political violence and civil war.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-425
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Anocracy
  • Civil war
  • Political regime measurement
  • Polity


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