Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 July 2013
External actors engaged in peace building often induce domestic elites to share power. This article explores the effectiveness of external incentives in establishing, maintaining or reforming power-sharing. Adopting a rationalist approach to socialization, the research investigates the strategic interaction between external and internal actors in two cases of contemporary power-sharing: Northern Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina. External incentives will probably be more effective when they uphold a peace agreement that satisfies groups’ structural preferences on constitutional issues. External incentives can, under certain conditions, lead to internalization and the potential ‘habitualization’ of power-sharing as norm-conforming behaviour. The strategy of external actors will be less effective when their socialization efforts are inconsistent and coercive, viewed as threatening to one or more of the contending groups.