Does granting regional autonomy to concentrated minorities appease their demand for sovereignty or instead motivate and enable them to engage in secessionist conflicts? To answer this question is difficult as moves towards federalism and decentralization are themselves the results of strategic interactions between the state and the minorities.
In this note, I intend to shed some light on this question by looking at how ethnic civil wars and autonomy are dynamically linked. This shows that for locally dominant groups, the risk of war monotonically decreases in the years leading to and following autonomy. For groups that are a minority locally, however, the risk of war sharply increases in the lead-up to autonomy, and quickly falls afterwards, suggesting strategic behavior.