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Does Globalization Breed Ethnic Discontent?

Olzak, Susan. 2011. "Does Globalization Breed Discontent?" Journal of Conflict Resolution 55: 3-32.

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This article examines how different components of globalization affect the death toll from internal armed conflict. Conventional wisdom once held that the severity of internal conflict would gradually decline with the spread of globalization, but fatalities still remain high. Moreover, leading theories of civil war sharply disagree about how different aspects of globalization might affect the severity of ethnic and nonethnic armed conflicts. Using arguments from a variety of social science perspectives on globalization, civil war, and ethnic conflict to guide the analysis, this article finds that (1) economic globalization and cultural globalization significantly increase fatalities from ethnic conflicts, supporting arguments from ethnic competition and world-polity perspectives, (2) sociotechnical aspects of globalization increase deaths from ethnic conflict but decrease deaths from nonethnic conflict, and (3) regime corruption increases fatalities from nonethnic conflict, which supports explanations suggesting that the severity of civil war is greater in weak and corrupt states.

Journal of Conflict Resolution