Adding trade to the equation: Multilevel modeling of biased civil war interventions

Szymon M. Stojek, Mwita Chacha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Third-party interventions have long been considered one of the most important events in civil war processes, affecting both duration and outcome of these conflicts. Understanding what affects probability of intervention in support of government or rebels is thus crucial. Interestingly, comparatively little attention has been paid to explanations of why third-party states intervene in civil conflicts of other states and even fewer studies model economic motivations for interventions. Our study focuses on the extent to which bilateral trade ties influence states’ decisions to intervene in conflicts of important trading partners. We model the influence of formal trade ties on the probability of pro-government and pro-rebel interventions. The argument asserts that trade ties work in ways similar to existing strategic alliances – favoring intervention on the side of the government rather than the opposition. The analyses use a multilevel modeling method, which enables us to appropriately model two levels of observed variables: conflict characteristics, the same for all potential interveners, and dyadic ties, varying across potential interveners. The findings support the role of bilateral trade ties in motivating interventions, and specifically in predicting interventions on the side of the embattled government. Our contribution is especially informative given the post-WWII exponential increase in both civil war phenomena and economic interdependence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-242
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 27 2015


  • bilateral trade
  • civil war intervention
  • multilevel modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations

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