Conflict & Conflict Processes: Civil/Interstate War, Militarized Interstate Disputes (MIDs), Shocks, & Terrorism

Human Security & Peace: Post-Conflict Development, International Assistance, Peacekeeping, & Persistent State Fragility


Volgy, Thomas J., Kelly Marie Gordell, Paul Bezerra, and Jon Patrick Rhamey, Jr. "Conflict, Regions, and Regional Hierarchies." Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics 2017.-06-28. Oxford University Press.  

Available online here.

Abstract: Despite decades of scholarly attention to conflict and cooperation processes in international politics, rigorous, comparative, large-N analyses of these questions at the region level are difficult to find in the literature. Turning attention to a region level unit of analysis does not require abandoning decades of scholarship at the state or dyad levels. Indeed, much of this work may be viewed as informing or complementary to comparative regional analyses. In particular, regional propensity for cooperation or conflict is likely to be conditioned by a number of prominent explanations of these phenomena at state and dyad levels, which may usefully be conceived in their regional aggregates as so-called regional fault lines or baseline conditions. These include the presence of major and/or regional powers, interstate rivalries, unresolved territorial claims, civil wars, regime similarity, trade relationships, and common membership in intergovernmental organizations.

Of these baseline conditions, the impact of major and regional powers on regional patterns of cooperation and conflict is notable for both its theoretical and practical implications. Power transition theory, hegemonic stability theory, hierarchical theory, and long cycle theory all suggest major—and to a lesser extent regional—powers will seek to establish order within areas under their influence; alternatively, the overwhelming capabilities these states bring to a region arguably act as a deterrent inhibiting conflict. Empirical analysis reveals—irrespective of the causal mechanism at hand—regions characterized by the presence of a major or regional power experience less conflict. Moving forward, future research should work to test the two plausible causal mechanisms for this finding—order building versus deterrence—to determine the true nature of hierarchy’s pacifying influence.

Keywords: regions, conflict, hierarchy, MIDs, major powers, regional powers, cooperation, empirical international relations theory

Supplemental Materials:

Conflict, Regions, and Regional Hierarchies: Criteria & Coding -
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Militarized Interstate Disputes Regional List Data -
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Oxford Replication Data - Multiple Formats -
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"UN Peacekeeping and Education in Post-Conflict Environments." (with Jessica Maves Braithwaite, & Gabriella Lloyd)

Abstract: A number of studies have examined quantitatively the relationship between third-party security guarantees and the duration of post-conflict peace, generally gauging the effectiveness of these missions in terms of the containment or absence of widespread violence. In this paper, we extend the concept of post-conflict peace to consider aspects of daily life beyond security namely, we are interested in the relationship between peacekeeping and access to educational opportunities.

We expect that post conflict countries in which UN peacekeepers are present will experience greater improvement in educational outcomes than those countries attempting to recover from conflict without security assistance from the international community. It is possible that governments receiving such interventions can focus more of their spending on improving social conditions rather than devoting the bulk of resources to security issues. Alternatively, the reason for improved educational access could be due to the peacekeepers themselves facilitating better services—if this is the case, only those missions with humanitarian components should produce better educational outcomes. We find some support for this latter expectation. Only multidimensional UN peacekeeping missions reliably improve access to education in post-conflict states.



Data Collection & Coding For
Volgy, Thomas J., Paul Bezerra, Jacob Cramer, and J. Patrick Rhamey, Jr. 2017. “The Case for Comparative Regional Analysis in International Politics.” International Studies Review. 00, 1-27.
Available online here.