The scope of political jurisdictions and violence: theory and evidence from Africa
Is there more violence in areas with many small countries or only a single large one? I build on Bernholz (The international game of power: past, present and future 1985) to create a unifying framework where both internal and external contestants engage in conflict, and then summarize how the spatial configuration of countries affects all types of violence with the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index of state sizes. Empirically, I examine fatalities from the conflict in Africa, where I use the borders set by the colonial powers of Europe to identify the effect of concentration. I find the most fatalities in areas with many small countries, but that violence decreases with concentration at a decreasing rate and eventually increases in areas with only one large country. These findings suggest an important difference between the observed average effect of concentration on violence and the expected marginal effects of further concentration.
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