Although living in the throes of the Cold War may impress one with a sense that the world has become peaceful, this notion could hardly be further from the truth. Instead, there has merely been a transition so that civil conflict has become the dominant form of armed conflict around the globe (Gleditsch et al.., 2002). In light of this information, scholars and decision makers alike have devised numerous methods of peace building, and yet these approaches frequently fail to prevent a relapse into conflict. For example, in arguing that the consolidation of peace is the most pressing issue for peace-builders, Gates & Strom (2007) point out that the initial signing of peace treaties in Rwanda, Angola, and Liberia did nothing to stop the wanton massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in each of those countries. Thus, it is necessary to look beyond stop-gap institutions and the ignition of a transition from conflict to peace. Scholars and decision makers must also dedicate attention to the mechanisms used for the establishment of long-term arrangements conducive to the maintenance of a durable peace.
This study seeks to advance the existing literature on conflict management by theorizing that any arrangement for the consolidation of durable peace must meet two basic requisites—legitimacy and enforceability—and exploring the impact partition and power sharing have on the legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements. Thus, the chief concern of my research is to ask: what is the impact of the two major methods of conflict management–power sharing and partition–on the legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements in a country following either an ethnic or ideological civil war? Although this leaves room for future examination of enforceability, my research should provide real-world policy implications that cannot be drawn from the existing literature.
Factors highlighted by previous work focused on identifying the determinants of whether peace proves durable often concentrate on immutable characteristics such as the wealth of the given country as measured by annual gross domestic production per capita (Sambanis 2000; Chapman & Roeder 2007), annual per capita income growth (Sambanis & Schulhofer-Wohl 2009), or overall gross domestic production (Gold 2010). Legitimacy, on the other hand, can be controlled and affected by decision makers if they are informed as to the implications that each method of conflict management has on the provisions of the post-conflict arrangement. In addition to the real world implications, my study also maintains a degree of academic relevance. Although scholars have produced an impressive compendium of literature pertaining to power sharing and partition as methods of consolidating peace durability, empirical tests have largely focused on which of the respective methods is most associated with durable peace and have stopped short of asking how these methods achieve that end or why they fail to do so. Thus, my theory advances the existing literature by examining the process through which power sharing or partition impact the durability of peace in post-conflict societies.
Using the presence or absence of riots and anti-government demonstrations as a proxy for legitimacy, I run two logistic regression analysis models. Ultimately, the results are more or less consistent between the models but I only find support for the third hypothesis. This suggests that partition is not an effective method of conflict management following ethnic or ideological civil wars. Power sharing, on the other hand, is associated with increased legitimacy in the arrangements of a country following an ideological civil war. It should, then, provide an effective method of consolidating peace durability in such circumstances. On the other hand, neither partition nor power sharing is found to be significantly related to the legitimacy of arrangements following an ethnic civil war. This suggests that decision makers looking to consolidate peace durability in the throes of an ethnic conflict should primarily focus on enforcement mechanisms.
The first section of this study analyzes the existing literature, identifying the primary methods of conflict management endorsed by scholars in the field of peace studies and civil conflict management. This section also identifies a number of shortcomings in the current compendium of scholarly work pertaining to how these methods relate to the durability of peace in post-conflict societies. The second section details my theory of how the respective methods of conflict management relate to the legitimacy of post-conflict arrangements following ethnic and ideological civil wars. In this section I also identify my hypotheses. The third section, Research Design, identifies my variables as well as my means of both quantifying and operationalizing these variables. This section also details the methodology used in testing my hypotheses. The Analysis section provides a table and description of my results as well as an interpretation of these results. Finally, I finish up with a discussion of my research and its implications before concluding.