Notes # 39 reading walter

Notes 39 reading - Bargaining Failures and CivilWar Barbara F.Walter 1 INTRODUCTION a Harder to have bargains in civil wars than in interstate wars

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Bargaining Failures and CivilWar Barbara F.Walter 1. INTRODUCTION a. Harder to have bargains in civil wars than in interstate wars b. Civil wars tend to last longer c. the two main empirical studies on civil war concentrated only on the economic, political, social, and geographic characteristics of countries at the expense of more strategic factors d. It is a consensus that poverty, large populations, a low level of economic development, a prior history of civil war, and political instability increase a country’s risk of civil war. e. many existing studies, though helpful in identifying are limited in two important ways. i. they cannot explain why governments in at-risk countries do not sign more negotiated settlements. ii. cannot explain variation in the outbreak of violence across countries that are at similar risk of civil war given the conditions mentioned above. f. Some civil wars, like those in Mozambique, Colombia, and Ethiopia, have lasted more than three decades, while others have lasted only a few months. g. some countries suffer only one civil war whereas others face recurring violence over time. 2. Information Asymmetries a. Wars occur because i. parties have private information about their ability to wage a successful fight and incentives to suppress or exaggerate this information in pursuit of a better deal. b. Information problems are likely to be particularly severe in intrastate disputes for at least two reasons. i. information about the military capabilities of potential rebel groups is often cloudy and difficult to obtain ii. potential rebel groups may not know the degree of their own strength without first engaging in battle and building support over time. iii. even if domestic groups had full information about their capabilities and strength, particularly strong incentives exist to withhold this information from a government whose control over internal security forces would allow it to easily exploit this information to repress the group. c. Two additional bargaining problems—the problem of credible commitments and the problem of indivisible stake 3. Difficulties Credibly Committing to Settlements a. commitment problems may make war a rational strategy in situations where the disputants cannot credibly promise to adhere to an agreement over time b. commitment problems are likely to be particularly acute in intrastate conflicts. i. large power asymmetries almost always exist between governments and potential rebel groups, which make it easy for governments to renege on promises. ii. even if a domestic group can threaten to use force, it will almost always become militarily weaker and more vulnerable as a result of a settlement. 4.
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2010 for the course IR 109 taught by Professor Heinz during the Spring '10 term at Rochester.

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Notes 39 reading - Bargaining Failures and CivilWar Barbara F.Walter 1 INTRODUCTION a Harder to have bargains in civil wars than in interstate wars

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