Big Wars versus Small Wars and the Politics of Durable Peace
18 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
Nations that experience one civil war are at risk of a relapse into renewed conflict. A number of studies have examined the factors the account for the durability of post-civil war peace and the risk of peace failure. Inconsistencies in the findings are in part a function of differing data sets employed to estimate models. In particular, the Uppsala-PRIO Armed conflict data set includes a number of smaller conflicts that do not appear in other widely used data sets. Recent studies using the ACD data on post-civil war peace spells produce different findings from similar studies using data that includes only major civil wars. This divergence in findings leads to the question that motivates this paper: are the predictors of post-war peace duration different for the "small" wars compared to the "major" wars included in that data set. We will explore this question by using several versions of the ACD data, with different criteria for including a conflict and determining the start and end dates of those conflicts, to determine whether the peace that follows low level conflicts is more fragile or less fragile than that which follows major armed conflicts and, if so, what factors explain this difference in the sustainability of peace following different types of civil wars. This should contribute to our understanding of the inconsistencies across studies in the findings on what explains the duration of post-civil war peace. It should also give us some insights into how best to make use of the ACD data, depending up the research question that one is exploring.
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