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International Insurance: Why Militant Groups and Governments Compete with Ballots Instead of Bullets

International Insurance: Why Militant Groups and Governments Compete with Ballots Instead of Bullets

September 30, 2011 -
11:30am to 1:00pm
Event Speaker: 
Aila Matanock, Ph.D. Candidate of Political Science, Stanford University
Event Sponsor: 
The Munro Lectureship Fund and The Lane Center
Abstract: 

Post-conflict elections are criticized as being useless at best and dangerous at worst.  In this paper, by contrast, I argue that post-conflict elections in which both sides of a formerly warring dyad participate can act as a commitment device, which makes peace between the signatories more durable by increasing combatants’ confidence that the terms of a settlement will be respected.  Particularly since the end of the Cold War, negotiated settlements that include electoral participation by a former militant group and the government engage third parties in the form of international actors to monitor how well both sides honor the deal and to punish violations.  New data on militant group electoral participation supports this theory.  In this paper, I test one of my theory’s implications against the implications of other theories: the commitment theory implies that negotiated settlements with provisions for electoral participation, compared to other deals, should be correlated with a significant increase in the duration of peace between the signatories.  I find that they are.  The research thus casts doubt on more uniformly pessimistic views of electoral competition as a conflict resolution tool.

Biography: 
Aila Matanock is a Ph.D. Candidate (degree expected in June 2012) studying international relations and comparative politics, especially conflict and security.  Her dissertation focuses on the role of electoral competition between militant groups and governments, especially as a component of negotiated settlements.  In contrast to broadly pessimistic views of elections as a conflict resolution tool, her research finds that, when these inclusive elections are part of an agreement, the duration of peace between the signatories is longer.  Specifically, international actors are able to engage in monitoring and sanctioning violations of the deal through the transparency that elections provide.  The project draws on evidence from field interviews with former militant group, government, and civic leaders and on a newly collected cross-national dataset.
 
Aila’s other projects focus on the role of international actors and armed non-state actors in governing weak and post-conflict states.  She has designed and run several survey experiments in Colombia and Mexico that explore the levels of social support for armed non-state actors, as well as their strategies for gaining more support.  Her research and teaching interests include conflict, especially terrorism and civil war; international intervention and assistance in post-conflict states; post-conflict peace-building and development; democratization; and, governance by and social support for militant groups and international actors.  She is also interested in survey experiments and multi-method research design.