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Scraps of Paper? Agreements and the Durability of Peace

Abstract

In the aftermath of war, what determines whether peace lasts or fighting resumes, and what can be done to foster durable peace? Drawing on theories of cooperation, I argue that belligerents can overcome the obstacles to peace by implementing measures that alter incentives, reduce uncertainty about intentions, and manage accidents. A counterargument suggests that agreements are epiphenomenal, merely reflecting the underlying probability of war resumption. I test hypotheses about the durability of peace using hazard analysis. Controlling for factors (including the decisiveness of victory, the cost of war, relative capabilities, and others) that affect the baseline prospects for peace, I find that stronger agreements enhance the durability of peace. In particular, measures such as the creation of demilitarized zones, explicit third-party guarantees, peacekeeping, and joint commissions for dispute resolution affect the duration of peace. Agreements are not merely scraps of paper; rather, their content matters in the construction of peace that lasts.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Geoffrey Blainey . 1973. The Causes of War. New York: Free Press.

Hugh Miall . 1992. The Peacemakers: Peaceful Settlement of Disputes Since 1945. New York: St. Martin's Press.

Allan C. Stam 1996. Win, Lose, or Draw: Domestic Politics and the Crucible of War. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

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International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
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