How to Make Democracy Self-Enforcing After Civil War: Enabling Credible Yet Adaptable Elite Pacts
Durant, T. Clark, and Michael Weintraub. 2014. "How to Make Democracy Self-Enforcing After Civil War: Enabling Credible Yet Adaptable Elite Pacts." Conflict Management and Peace Science 31(5): 521–540.
24 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 24 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 18, 2014
While many recommend electoral democracy as a way to avoid or resolve civil conflict, the empirical record of electoral democracy as an alternative to civil conflict is decidedly mixed. We apply recent work from new organizational economics on the nature of elite pacts to add to both sides of the debate. On the one hand, we argue that we should be more pessimistic about the ability of existing electoral institutions to help rather than hurt the prospects for a stable peace. We argue that the new organizational economics reveals a design dilemma — a forced trade-off between the credible commitment to an elite pact in the short term and the adaptability of an elite pact in the long term — that plagues the most commonly considered alternatives. On the other hand, we tentatively argue for optimism if institutional designers work with criteria that explicitly take the dilemma into account. We propose novel design criteria that would allow a polity to address the design dilemma.
Keywords: civil war, power-sharing, security, democratization, institutional design
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