Network competition and civilian targeting during civil conflict

Cassy Dorff, Max Gallop, Shahryar Minhas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Building on recent developments in the literature, this article addresses a prominent research question in the study of civil conflict: what explains violence against civilians? We use a novel computational model to investigate the strategic incentives for victimization in a network setting; one that incorporates civilians' strategic behavior. We argue that conflicts with high network competition - where conflict between any two actors is more likely - lead to higher rates of civilian victimization, irrespective of the conflict's overall intensity or total number of actors. We test our theory in a cross-national setting using event data to generate measures of both conflict intensity and network density. Empirical analysis supports our model's finding that conflict systems with high levels of network competition are associated with a higher level of violence against the civilian population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-459
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
Early online date3 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023


  • civil conflict
  • civilian victimization
  • network analysis


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