Peace for our time? Examining the effect of power-sharing on post-war rebellions

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Does power-sharing promote peace? Relying on credible commitment theory, past research has predominantly focused on one aspect of this question. Namely, whether power-sharing prevents the recurrence of battle violence between agreement signatories. However, this disregards a phenomenon that plagues post-war countries across the globe: battle violence perpetrated by armed groups outside of the negotiated settlement against the post-war order. To explain this violence, I argue that we have to focus on how power-sharing redistributes power and access to resources across elites in a post-war country. By determining who gets what, when, and how, power-sharing determines the state’s counter-insurgency capabilities and thus shapes incentives and constrains for extra-agreement battle violence. Personalized power-sharing, for instance, gives elites privileged access to state resources, facilitates effective counter-insurgency strategies, and thus decreases extra-agreement violence. In contrast, structural power-sharing limits elites' access to resources and their ability to prevent armed challenges resulting in higher levels of violence. To empirically test these propositions. I combine data from the Power-Sharing Event Dataset (PSED) with the UCDP Georeferenced Event Dataset (GED) for peace agreements in Africa and Asia signed between 1989 and 2006. I analyze this data using count models, matching procedures and correlated random effects models. The empirical results support my expectation that personalized power-sharing is associated with fewer extra-agreement battle deaths while structural arrangement facilitates post-war rebellions. This study contributes to an improved understanding of power-sharing as a conflict resolution tool and highlights its divergent effects on actors inside and outside of peace agreements.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Early online date2 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Dec 2019


  • civil war, extra-agreement battle violence, postwar peace, power-sharing