Paul R. Hensel, "One Thing Leads to Another: Recurrent Militarized Disputes in Latin America, 1816-1986." Journal of Peace Research 31,3 (Aug.1994): 281-297.

Most systematic research on interstate conflict has overlooked the effects of one confrontation on subsequent conflict between the same adversaries. This article explores three aspects of recurrent militarized disputes: the likelihood of a subsequent dispute between the same states, the interval between disputes involving the same adversaries, and characteristics of the initiators of recurrent disputes. These three queries are addressed through empirical examination of recurrent militarized conflict in Latin America from 1816-1986.

Subsequent conflict between the same two adversaries is found to be more likely when territorial issues are under contention, and less likely when the first confrontation ends in a negotiated compromise outcome. The next confrontation tends to occur sooner after disputes that ended in stalemate, rather than in a compromise of decisive outcome, and when territorial issues are at stake. The level of escalation reached in the dispute had little effect by itself on the timing of later conflict, but stronger results were produced in interaction with the type of issue at stake.

Similar results were obtained both for recurrent conflict overall, and for recurrent conflict over the same contentious issues as before, but the combination of dispute outcomes, contentious issues, and escalation produced much stronger results with respect to the likelihood and timing of future conflict over the same issue(s). Additionally, the results did not provide overwhelming support for any single ideal type of characteristics of recurrent dispute initiators, with different initiation patterns following different types of dispute outcomes.


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