Considering Concessions: A Survey Experiment on the Colombian Peace Process
33 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2016 Last revised: 14 Jul 2018
Date Written: 2015
Designing peace agreements that can be signed and sustained can be difficult in civil conflict.
Many recent cases of successful settlements include electoral provisions, often for rebel groups
to participate as political parties. Engaging the electoral process, however, can also open the
peace process to the population at large, potentially derailing a settlement or some of its
provisions, perhaps especially those related to political provisions. In this paper, we examine
popular support for peace processes, specific political provisions, and potential concessions that
provide former rebels with protections, legitimacy, and power. Using a survey experiment in
Colombia, we find that the peace process overall is more popular than its electoral provisions and
that rebel endorsement of the provisions further diminishes support. These results contribute to
an explanation of why the 2016 Colombian plebiscite on the peace agreement failed and to an
understanding of how design matters to agreement effectiveness.
Keywords: Colombia, FARC, Peace Process, Post-Conflict Elections, Public Support, Survey Experiment
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