A unified explanation of territorial conflict: Testing the impact of sampling bias, 1919-1992

Paul D. Senese, John A. Vazquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article develops a new unified territorial explanation of conflict that accounts for the possibility of certain factors affecting the rise of a militarized dispute, as well as the probability that a dispute will escalate to war. In the past, research linking territorial disputes to a relatively high probability of war outbreak has been criticized for underestimating the potential problem of sampling bias in the militarized interstate dispute (MID) data. This study utilizes newly available data on territorial claims going back to 1919 to determine, using a two-stage estimation procedure, whether the presence of territorial claims in the dispute onset phase affects the relationship between territorial militarized disputes and war in the second stage. It is found that territorial claims increase the probability of a militarized dispute occurring and that territorial MIDs increase the probability of war, even while controlling for the effect of territorial claims on dispute onset. The effect of territory across the two stages is consistent with the new territorial explanation of conflict and war and shows no sampling bias with regard to territory in the MID data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-298
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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