Political Conflict in Less Developed Countries 1981-89

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Auvinen, Juha Y. (1997) Political Conflict in Less Developed Countries 1981-89 , Journal of Peace Research 34(2): 177–195.

The problem of accounting for domestic political conflict, particularly in the less developed countries, has become an important global task. In the article, several conflict indicators are reviewed and embedded in a conceptual model. The regime's inability to provide economic and political goods is conceived as a source of discontent, or relative deprivation, within a population. This discontent is seen to be likely to result in conflict if the environment is conducive to the mobilization of resources for collective action. The validity of the indicators is tested with various techniques, including ordinary least squares, generalized least squares (error component), and Logit regression models, on a sample of 70 less developed countries in 1981-89. The dependent variables are (1) political conflict and its constituent parts, (2) political protest, (3) rebellion, and (4) irregular executive transfer. The overall extent of political conflict varies directly with poor economic performance, ethnic dominance, military centrality, urbanization and conflict tradition, inversely with the level of economic development, and is most extensive under middle levels of political authoritarianism. Economic performance seems to be more conducive to political protest and irregular executive transfer than rebellion. Urbanization and ethnic dominance are directly associated with political protest but decrease the likelihood of irregular executive transfer. The results generally corroborate the findings of 30 years of conflict research also in the Third-World context.