Too much of a bad thing? Civilian victimization and bargaining in civil war

Reed Wood, Jacob D. Kathman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


While studies of the motives for intentional insurgent violence against civilians are now common, relatively little academic research has focused on the impact of victimization on conflict processes or war outcomes. This article addresses this gap in the literature. Specifically, the authors examine the influence of civilian victimization on bargaining between the regime and insurgents during a civil war. A curvilinear relationship between the level of civilian victimization used by insurgents and the likelihood that conflict ends in negotiated settlement is posited. The probability of settlement is highest for groups that engage in a moderate level of civilian killing but declines at particularly high levels. A competing risk analysis using monthly conflict data on African civil wars between 1989 and 2010 supports this argument.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-706
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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