Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Aila M. Matanock's "Electing Peace"

Aila M. Matanock is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Electing Peace: From Civil Conflict to Political Participation, and reported the following:
Electing Peace examines the causes and consequences of establishing rebel parties to participate in post-conflict elections when negotiating a peace agreement to end a civil conflict. A substantial obstacle to peace in the modern era is that settlements to these intrastate wars often fail, and the parties revert back to fighting.

The book makes two main points. First, post-conflict elections in which rebel parties have agreed to participate may be helpful for peace, countering some of the prevailing pessimism surrounding elections in the aftermath of conflict. Second, peacekeeping methods that use conditional incentives during the implementation of the political provisions, rather than requiring the interveners to threaten or use force, may be effective at a lower cost.

On page 99, Chapter 4 begins with an illustration of rebel parties that participated in post-conflict elections in Colombia during the 1990s. This first page is a snapshot of the case material that helped shape the book. I spent time in Colombia developing my theory, and then used in-depth work on Guatemala and El Salvador to test some of its implications. (Many of its implications are once again applicable in Colombia, as the FARC guerrillas have agreed to enter post-conflict elections.)

Most of Chapter 4, however, presents new cross-national evidence on 122 peace agreements and 388 civil conflicts. These data indicate that the frequency with which rebel parties agree to participate in post-conflict elections has increased since the end of the Cold War, starting in regions close to the West.

These patterns are consistent with my theory that rebels and governments agreeing to participate as parties in post-conflict elections enables international actors to observe whether these moments of power redistribution follow their established rules. And, if one of the former combatant sides violate those rules, these international actors can also easily sanction them using foreign aid, training, and other resources that each party seeks to access and provide its supporters.

Later in the book, I test the consequences of agreeing to these participatory post-conflict elections, and, in these data, I find that they are associated with an 80 percent increase in the chance that a settlement will produce enduring peace.
Visit Aila M. Matanock's website and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue