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Expecting Elections


  • Nils W. Metternich


International organizations (IOs) frequently link their military interventions with democratization efforts in the target state. However, existing research suggests that these attempts often fail. This article analyzes the conditions under which interventions by IOs shorten or prolong civil war dyads. When militarily strong rebel groups with low public support expect externally enforced democratization, they have incentives to continue fighting. These incentives arise when democratization leads to power shifts that cause commitment problems for belligerents with high popular support. Cox hazards models are used to test the article’s hypotheses on a new data set on African rebel leaders’ ethnicity. The results demonstrate that IO interventions with democratization mandates are only associated with shorter conflicts if rebel leaders come from ethnic groups representing more than 10 percent of a country’s population. IO interventions without democratization mandates are not associated with shorter conflict duration and show no interaction effect with the rebels’ ethnic support.

Suggested Citation

  • Nils W. Metternich, 2011. "Expecting Elections," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(6), pages 909-937, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:55:y:2011:i:6:p:909-937

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