The Clash of Brothers: Wars to Avoid Diffusion in a Contagious World
CitationLada, Akos. 2015. The Clash of Brothers: Wars to Avoid Diffusion in a Contagious World. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractMy dissertation explores macro-level questions in Political Economy. Using the toolbox of Economics, I find a new reason for international conflict: cultural similarity.
Two culturally similar nations may have very different political regimes (e.g. the two Koreas). The cultural similarity encourages citizens to compare the different political regimes, which in turn threatens a dictator. I formalize this process of political contagion in an infinitely-repeated bargaining model and show that more cultural similarity gives a politically-threatened dictator greater incentive to start a war against a democracy. The leader wants to ensure that his citizens see the other nation as an enemy rather than a role model. I test the implications of my model using cross-national statistical analysis, historical case studies, and text analysis. My cross-national statistical data set combines cultural similarity measures of up to 200x200 country pairs with data on wars among these nations between 1816 and 2008. In panel regressions which include country-pair fixed effects, I find that when two countries share culture (measured by religion, race, and civilization), but differ in their political institutions, they are up to 80 % more likely to fight a war. My results are stronger between physically distant country-pairs, which suggests that cultural affinity is not mismeasured physical proximity but a distinct factor in wars. I complement my analysis by considering an extension of my theory to domestic conflict, and by exploring the implications of wars creating shared identity.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:17464374
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