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A latent variable approach to measuring and explaining peace agreement strength

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 May 2019

Rob Williams*
Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 361 Hamilton Hall, Chapel Hill, NC27599, United States
Daniel J. Gustafson
Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 361 Hamilton Hall, Chapel Hill, NC27599, United States
Stephen E. Gent
Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 361 Hamilton Hall, Chapel Hill, NC27599, United States
Mark J. C. Crescenzi
Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 361 Hamilton Hall, Chapel Hill, NC27599, United States
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Much of the peace agreement durability literature assumes that stronger peace agreements are more likely to survive the trials of the post-conflict environment. This work does an excellent job identifying which provisions indicate that agreements are more likely to endure. However, there is no widely accepted way to directly measure the strength of agreements, and existing measures suffer from a lack of nuance or reliance on subjective weighting. We use a Bayesian item response theory model to develop a principled measure of the latent strength of peace agreements in civil conflicts from 1975 to 2005. We illustrate the measure's utility by exploring how various international factors such as sanctions and mediation contribute to the strength or weakness of agreements.

Original Article
Copyright © The European Political Science Association 2019

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