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Networks of violence : predicting conflict in Nigeria

Gallop, Max and Minhas, Shahryar and Dorff, Cassy (2018) Networks of violence : predicting conflict in Nigeria. Journal of Politics. ISSN 0022-3816 (In Press)

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Abstract

Civil conflicts are complex: multiple warring parties compete for control of territory both against each other and the government. These processes are often dynamic; changing over time and space. In this study, we embrace these complexities through a network based approach. By considering important relational patterns, such as reciprocity and transitivity, and tying them together with existing theoretical developments in the conflict processes literature, we answer the question of 'who fights whom and when' during civil conflict. Further, using the case of Nigeria, we offer novel theoretical insights about how the entrance of a new, aggressive actor can decisively alter the trajectory of conflict. In addition, we show that our approach is better at predicting 'who fights whom and when' in an out-of-sample context than extant approaches.