Sambuddha Ghatak, Aaron Gold and Brandon Prins. “Domestic Terrorism in Democratic States: Understanding and Addressing Minority GrievancesJournal of Conflict Resolution (2017) 1-29.

indexScholars continue to disagree on the relationship between regime type and political violence, perhaps because the empirical evidence remains contradictory. To date, most studies generally explore the direct relationship between democracy and terrorism. Yet, we think the effect of regime type on terrorism is conditional on the presence of politically excluded groups whose grievances motivate them to challenge the state. We need to take into account both willingness/grievance and opportunity to understand political violence. Using a global data set of domestic terrorism between 1990 and 2012, we find that different regime-associated features of democracy relate differently to domestic terrorism. Higher levels of the rule of law tend to decrease terrorism, whereas electoral democracies tend to experience more domestic terrorism. However, domestic terrorism increases in every form of democracy in the presence of political exclusion. As such, an effective counterterrorism policy must address underlying grievances as democratization by itself may actually drive domestic terrorism up.

Brandon C. Prins, Krista Wiegand, Sambuddha Ghatak, and Aaron Gold. “Managing territorial conflict An introduction to this special issue.” Conflict Management and Peace Science Special Issue on Territory and Conflict, 34 (2), 121-125

Recent conflict over Crimea and Eastern Ukraine illustrates well the importance of cmpscontentious issues in world politics, mainly territorial conflict. Leaders in Kiev and Moscow clearly recognize both the tangible and intangible value of the land and maritime spaces disputed. Sevastopol, for example, hosts the Russian Black Sea fleet, vitally important for Russian power projection. Russians also constitute the largest block of Ukrainian citizens residing in the Crimea (60%), spurring demands by Russian nationalists for a return of the strategic peninsula ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 …(Continued).

Sambuddha Ghatak, Aaron Gold and Brandon Prins. “External threat and the limits of democratic pacifism.Conflict Management and Peace Science Special Issue on Territory and Conflict, 34 (2), 141-159.

Scholars widely recognize that democratic dyads are associated with lower hazards of armedcmps conflict and more efficient conflict resolution. Many attempts have been made to challenge the notion of democratic pacifism, but perhaps the most significant is the argument that the Democratic Peace is epiphenomenal to territorial issues, specifically the external threats that they pose. The presence of an external threat might be the mechanism by which democratic dyads, due to audience costs and resolve, fail to decide contentious issues non-violently. This study seeks to answer the question: “Under what conditions do democratic dyads lower the likelihood of armed conflict?” To do this we propose a hard test of the Democratic Peace. Using an updated global sample of cases, we model joint democracy’s ability to lower the likelihood of armed conflict in the presence of direct external threats in the form of strategic rivalry and territorial contention. The empirical evidence we uncover systematically shows the Democratic Peace to be more limited than previously observed. When we control for each external threat with a simple right-hand-side variable, joint democracy continues to reduce conflict propensities. But when democracies face external threats (that is, the interaction of democracy and threat), the pacifying effect of democracy is less visible.
Replication materials to be provided on publication (or on request)

Sambuddha Ghatak. “The role of political exclusion and state capacity in civil conflict in South AsiaTerrorism and Political Violence (Forthcoming). DOI: 10.1080/09546553.2016.1150840

FTPVExtant literature on intrastate conflict independently explores terrorism and civil war. However, both terrorism and civil war are probably parts of a continuum of intrastate conflict with the former at one end and the later at the other end in terms of intensity. I argue that two factors play important roles in rebels’ decision-making calculus; the size of their support base and state strength. Terrorism, as a strategy of the weak, is optimal when the rebel groups have little support among their audience, and the state is strong. On the other hand, guerrilla warfare is an ideal strategy when such groups have greater support base, and the state is weak. The theoretical argument is tested on a dataset of six countries of South Asia and Myanmar for 1970-2007.
Replication material: TPV 2 (data) TPV 2 (Do file Stata commands)

Sambuddha Ghatak and Brandon C. Prins. “The Homegrown Threat State Strength Grievance and Domestic TerrorismInternational Interactions 43 (2), 217-247.

IISimilar to insurgency, scholars maintain that terrorist violence is precipitated by both relative deprivation and state weakness. Yet intuitively aggrieved minority groups within a country should turn to terrorism when they are weak relative to the state rather than strong. Empirical evidence shows minority group discrimination and fragile political institutions to independently increase domestic terror attacks. But it remains unclear whether grievances drive domestic terrorism in both strong and weak states. Using data from 172 countries between 1998 and 2007, we find that for strong states the presence of minority discrimination leads to increased domestic terrorism while for weak states the presence of minority discrimination actually leads to less domestic terrorism. Consequently, increasing state capacity may not be a panacea for anti-state violence as non-state actors may simply change their strategy from insurgency or guerrilla warfare to terrorism. Efforts to reduce terrorist violence must focus on reducing grievance by eliminating discriminatory policies at the same time as measures to improve state capacity are enacted.
Replication materials: Ghatak and Prins data   Ghatak and Prins dofile

Sambuddha Ghatak and Aaron Gold. “Development, Discrimination, and Domestic Terrorism Looking Beyond a Linear Relationship.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 34 (6), 618-639.

cmps This study relates economic development to one of the well-observed predictors of domestic terrorism – minority discrimination – and revisits the relationship between terrorism and economic development. We argue that terrorism may be a rational choice when minority’s exclusion from political power and relative deprivation from public goods increases and the unsettling forces in the initial phases of economic development provide aggrieved people opportunities for mobilization. We find that economic development has a curvilinear relationship with terrorism. Highly developed countries are less likely to experience domestic terrorism than less developed ones and the least developed countries have few targets. However, both rich and middle-income countries are vulnerable to domestic terrorism in the presence of minority discrimination.
CMPS Replication Data  CMPS Do File  Online Appendix

Sambuddha Ghatak. “Challenging the State Effect of Minority Discrimination Economic Globalization and Political Openness on Domestic Terrorism,” International Interactions, Vol. 42, No. 1 (2016): 56–80.

IIDiscrimination against minority groups is a robust predictor of domestic terrorism. However, economic and political openness might further facilitate mobilization of such aggrieved sections of a larger population. This study relates economic and political openness to minority discrimination in explaining vulnerability to domestic terrorism. Terrorism is a rational choice when minority’s deprivation from public good provisions increases, while global economic integration and limited political openness facilitate rebel mobilization. Using data on 172 countries, I find strong support that countries discriminating against minority groups are more likely to experience domestic terrorist attacks when their economic and political systems open up.
Replication materials: Data   DoFile (STATA)

Sambuddha Ghatak, “Willingness and Opportunity A Study of Domestic Terrorism in Post Cold War South Asia,” Terrorism and Political Violence, Vol. 28, No. 2 (2016): 274-296

FTPVDomestic terrorism, as a form of intrastate violence, has varied widely in South Asia along with the post-Cold War period of global economic integration and political openness. How are these two phenomena– economic integration and emergence of democracies – related to domestic terrorism in South Asia? I argue that resorting to terrorism is a rational choice when individuals/groups’ cost of heterogeneity — deprivation from public goods due to geographical and ideological distance — increases; opportunity is provided by democratization and integration to the global economy. The testable hypotheses derived from the theory are empirically tested on a dataset of five South Asian countries for the time period between 1990 and 2007. The results show that both minority discrimination and presence of unconsolidated democratic institutions increase terrorism in the highly heterogeneous South Asian countries. International trade in the presence of minority discrimination increases homegrown terrorism, but foreign direct investment neither increases nor decreases such incidents.
Replication materials: Data1  DoFile1 (STATA)

Sambuddha Ghatak and E. Ike Udogu, “Human Rights Issues of Minorities in Contemporary India A Concise Analysis,” Journal of Third World Studies, Vol. XXIX, No. 1 (Spring 2012): 203-230.

51KDPND7D6LThe study explores the nature of human rights violations of the Dalits in India and relates those to the relevant provisions of the national constitution and international human rights instruments. A case study from a fieldwork conducted in the Malda district in West Bengal on some human rights issues is discussed to further evaluate the nature of right violations of the Dalits. The paper concludes with a discussion on ways how the human rights of minorities (Dalits) in India can be ameliorated.

Sambuddha Ghatak, “Gender Marginalization A Discourse on the Status of Women in South Asia,” in E. Ike Udogu (ed.), The Developing World: Critical Issues in Politics and Society, Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press/Rowman and Littlefield Group (2012): 69-93.

5In the discourses on the status of women in India and Pakistan, a common pattern can be discerned. The commonality lies in the construction of womanhood – a construction of servility and their social, political and economic dependency on men. This male hegemony over women starts from cradle to grave in practically every sphere of life. Also, the religio-social or socio-religious construction and other practices, based on a strong patriarchal ideology prevalent in the region, curtail women’s mobility and prevent them from utilizing existing opportunities to enhance capabilities and possibilities. Indeed, that religion (Hinduism in India and Islam in Pakistan) has played an important role in the marginalization of women is given. Selective interpretations of religious texts by men of power in both countries have perpetuated male dominance in these societies. Although both Hindu and Islamic religious texts are replete with misogynous contents that embolden the malevolent design of male domination, a number of verses can be cited from the same texts that extol womanhood. So, if misogynist contents are taken literally from these religious books to marginalize women, those verses commending women should also be emphasized with frequency.

Book Review and Others

10254Sambuddha Ghatak and E. Ike Udogu. Review of Bonny Ibhawoh. ‘Imperialism and Human Rights: Colonial Discourses of Rights and Liberties in African History.’ State University of New York Press, 2007. Published in Journal of African and Asian Studies, Volume 7 no.2-3 (2008): 309-313.

Brandon C. Prins, Sambuddha Ghatak and Aaron Gold, “Domestic Terrorism in Democratic States: The Important Role Played by Grievances.” Political Violence @ a Glance, September 17, 2015 available at

Sambuddha Ghatak, Aaron Gold and Brandon C. Prins, “What’s So Important About Territorial Disputes in International Relations?” Political Violence @ a Glance, September 21, 2016 available at