Territorial revision and state repression

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21 Scopus citations


Does involvement in territorial conflict affect domestic repression? I argue that seeking to revise territory abroad will affect domestic repression, but conditionally on regime type and conflict severity. For democracies, there may be public pressure to deliver the good of territory. Because of this, territorial revision can lead to in-group/out-group dynamics at home, making it politically beneficial to increase repression domestically against groups seen as being opposed to the conflict. Autocracies may place a different value on contested territory, as they rely on the distribution of private goods to maintain support. While in-group/out-group dynamics may also be in play for autocracies, such states also face different types of constraints than democracies. Autocracies are more likely to use their military for domestic repression, and thus are more likely to simply maintain or reduce repression because the military is now being used abroad. These propositions are tested cross-nationally by examining repression when states are revisionists in conflicts over territory spanning from 1977 to 2001. The results of ordered logit analyses of state repression show that democratic states become more likely to increase repression when they are territorial revisionists, as those conflict-years become more deadly, while autocratic states are less likely to increase repression during the same periods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-387
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • human rights abuse
  • militarized interstate disputes
  • repression
  • territorial conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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