Political Legitimacy and Interstate Conflict in Africa

Open Access
Glazier, Eli Joshua
Area of Honors:
International Politics
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Glenn Hunter Palmer, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael Barth Berkman, Honors Advisor
  • political
  • legitimacy
  • Conflict
  • africa
Government legitimacy has historically been a difficult topic to conceptualize and quantify. Using several popular conceptualizations, this analysis intends to illustrate the relationship between government legitimacy and interstate conflict behavior in Africa by creating a cross- national time-series dataset, and using large-n quantitative analysis. In this analysis, government legitimacy is largely based on popular consent and government output impartiality. Data for this analysis comes from the Militarized Interstate Dispute dataset of the Correlates of War, and the World Bank. The spatiotemporal universe of cases is sub-Saharan Africa according to the Correlates of War between 1975 and 2001. While I don’t find there to be a relationship between the two variables, I have shown that it is possible to quantify legitimacy over time, an important idea that should lead to future research in the area. Additionally, I make a case that a continuous, time-variant legitimacy quantification should be come the norm in political science research.