British Journal of Political Science

Research Article

Foreign-Imposed Regime Change, State Power and Civil War Onset, 1920–2004

Goran Peic and Dan Reiter*


This article proposes that foreign-imposed regime changes (FIRCs) make civil war onset more likely when they damage state infrastructural power, as in the context of interstate war, and when they change the target’s political institutions as well as leadership. Using rare events logit to analyse civil war onset from 1920 to 2004, it is found that interstate war and institutional change are virtually necessary (though not sufficient) conditions for an FIRC to cause a civil war. Many control variables are included. The results are robust to different research design specifications; nevertheless, they cannot confirm that occupation troops make an FIRC more likely to spark civil war.

(Online publication November 23 2010)


* Department of Political Science, Emory University (email: Earlier versions of this article were presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the Peace Science Society (International) in Claremont, California; Emory University; the University of Maryland; and the University of Minnesota. For helpful comments, thanks to Tom Remington, Jennifer Gandhi and James Vreeland.