Pui Hang Wong

UNU-MERIT / Maastricht Graduate School of Governance

Pui Hang Wong

The Dynamic Effects of Political Regime on Civil Wars

The study of democracy and democratization has dominated the field of comparative politics for decades. Since late 1990s, attention has been shifted to non-democracies. A similar trend is observed in a strand of conflict research. A large amount of effort was devoted to the thesis of democratic peace and its domestic counterpart. Noticing that civil wars have been observed primarily in non-democratic states, one may wonder what institutional features make non-democracies or semi-democracies, both of which still outnumber democracies and host more than half of the world population nowadays, particularly vulnerable to violent conflicts.

My PhD project explores the role of political regime in explaining the risk of civil wars. Thus far, the scholarly examination has stressed on the government side and is set on a static environment. As it takes two to fight, questions related to the emergence of rebel groups, their participation, the interaction between regime structure and the emergence, and the subsequent trajectory of conflicts has yet to be examined and answered systematically. My project is an endeavor to fill these gaps by studying the interaction between the macro-structure and micro-behaviors of rebel groups in an ethnically diverse environment in which multiple actors are involved.