Negotiated Settlement and the Durability of Peace: Agreement Design, Implementation and Mediated Civil Wars

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Kai He


Existing research has often shown that negotiated peace agreements are less likely to sustain enduring peace in the aftermath of civil wars. While a large proportion of research concentrates on the effects of agreement design and implementation stages on the odds of civil war resumption, they generally fail to integrate them as an interdependent process and also ignore the implications of earlier stage on the later one. This paper develops an integrative analytical framework that combines the agreement design phase with the implementation phase and investigates the role of third-party mediation in these two peace stages and their effects on the duration of peace after a civil war ends. We contend that the credible commitment problem is inherent in both the design and implementation of agreement stages and cannot be resolved completely by the combatants themselves in either stage. We thus propose a 2*2 typology of peace process to examine the effects of self-design vs. mediated-design and self-enforcement vs. mediated-enforcement on the peace duration. Drawing from the IMPCT and CWM datasets, we employ a survival analysis model and a Heckman Selection model to test this argument. We find that peace agreements are more likely to sustain peace after civil wars if they involve third party mediators in the stages of agreement design and implementation to reduce uncertainties resulting from the commitment problem, especially when the state capacity is weak.

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