Liberal peace and shared resources â€“ A fair-weather phenomenon?
The aim of this article is to empirically analyse liberal peace arguments in the context of shared river basins. In particular, it argues that counter to the water war hypothesis, sharing a river need not necessary lead to conflict over the shared resource: relying on liberal arguments, joint democracy is expected to facilitate trust and thus cooperation over transboundary rivers. Furthermore, by mitigating asymmetries, facilitating (implicit) side-payments and issue linkage, both economic and political interlinkages may encourage cooperation over shared rivers. Previous work suggests that these factors might be a â€˜fair-weatherâ€™ phenomenon, that is, that they play a role only for problems that are easy to solve. In this article, liberal effects are allowed to vary with the difficulty of the underlying problem by separating different issues and geographic situations. Empirically, the article focuses on intergovernmental behaviour using a new dataset on transboundary water events covering all international basins for a period of eleven years (1997â€“2007). The results show that indeed liberal peace factors matter with respect to intergovernmental interaction over shared river basins and the effect of joint democracy is more prominent under â€˜fair-weatherâ€™ conditions.
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