The Negotiation Calculus: Why Parties to Civil Conflict Refuse to Talk

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Authors Jeffrey M. Kaplow
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Why do some parties to intrastate conflict refuse to negotiate? I propose a simple theory of civil conflict in which the act of negotiation itself carries costs and benefits. Several hypotheses follow: parties to civil conflict will avoid negotiation when they (1) fear alienating external supporters or internal constituencies, (2) risk granting legitimacy to their opponents or signaling weakness to other potential claimants, or (3) find it difficult to identify reliable negotiating partners. Empirical tests find support for my argument. My findings suggest that cases exist in which the parties would reach an agreement if only they could overcome the costs of negotiation and engage in talks. Diplomats and mediators should consider the costs and benefits of talks when planning the timing and form of interventions designed to bring parties to the table.
Date of publication 2016
Code Programming Language R

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