Document Type


Publication Date


Department 1

Political Science


The spread of civil war poses serious risks and costs. We argue that conflict environments, which vary across time and space, systematically exacerbate the spread of civil war. As conflict in a state’s neighborhood becomes more spatially proximate and as lingering effects of conflict accumulate over time, that state’s risk of civil war onset increases. To theorize and test this argument, we construct the conflict environment (CE) score, a concept that taps into spatial and temporal dimensions of violence in a state’s neighborhood. Using the CE score in established empirical models of civil war onset, we demonstrate that a dangerous conflict environment consistently elevates the risk of civil war, outperforming traditional measures of nearby violence, even when domestic factors are taken into account.





Required Publisher's Statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Global Security Studies following peer review. The version of record (Lindsay Reid, Rachel Myrick, Kelly M Kadera, Mark J C Crescenzi, Conflict Environments and Civil War Onset, Journal of Global Security Studies, ogz064) is available online at:

Additional Files

Reid et al CE and Civil War appendix.pdf (163 kB)