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Distributive justice and the durability of peace agreements

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2010

Abstract

This study explores the relationship between principles of distributive justice (DJ) and the durability of negotiated agreements. Sixteen peace agreements negotiated during the early 1990s were coded for the centrality of each of four principles of DJ – equality, proportionality, compensation, and need – to the core terms of the agreement. The agreements were also assessed on scales of implementation and durability over a five-year period. Another variable included in the analysis was the difficulty of the conflict environment. These data were used to evaluate three sets of hypotheses: the relationship between DJ and durability, the role of the conflict environment, and types of DJ principles. The results obtained from both statistical and focused-comparison analyses indicate that DJ moderates the relationship between conflict environments and outcomes: when principles of justice are central to an agreement, the negative effects of difficult conflict environments are reduced; when principles are not central, the negative effects of difficulty are heightened. These relationships are accounted for primarily by one of the four DJ principles – equality. Implications of these findings are discussed along with a number of ideas for further research.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2010

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References

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47 Equivalent distances between the steps from marginal to highly significant are based on the assumption that increments in significance are matters of degree; in this scale the increments are .25. The larger distance between the codes for marginally significant and no principles (1 scale step) is based on the assumption that inclusion of any principles is qualitatively distinct from no inclusion.

48 In addition, ratings done by experts were compared to those provided by students in a graduate programme on diplomacy. The cases were Cambodia and Bosnia. The same justice score of 5 was assigned to Cambodia; the experts assigned a justice score of 5 while the students gave a score of 4 to Bosnia.

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50 These codes were used in order to maintain consistency with the other variables coded by Downs and Stedman and used in our correlational analyses. An independent check on the Downs-Stedman implementation codes by the authors revealed disagreements in only two of the 16 cases. These anomalies are discussed below.

51 Other types of agreements may require different time spans. For example, multilateral environmental agreements often specify complex conditions for implementation – some provisions may take more time to kick in than others. However, there is a trade off between the length of the implementation period examined and the amount of information needed to track adherence by each of the parties.

52 The experts were Ramses Amer (Cambodia) and James Goodby (Bosnia). See Downs and Stedman, ‘Evaluation issues in peace implementation’.

53 Paris, At War's End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict.

54 Somalia is another case where many justice principles are included in an agreement that did not endure. This may however be accounted for by a very difficult conflict environment. Further, the documentation on the implementation period in Somalia is less detailed than for Rwanda. For these reasons, the Somalia coding remains in tact.

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58 Note that this scale differs from the one used in the quantitative analyses. It contains only four categories: highly significant, important, marginal, none. The change was made to account for differences in the familiarity of the respective coders with the cases and concepts. The distinctions were less fine for the students who participated in the small-n focused-comparison study than for the more experienced coders of the complete set of agreements.

59 Correlations were also computed with the 16 cases, including Rwanda and the original implementation code for El Salvador. Similar results were obtained. However, as noted earlier, the correlation between DJ and implementation was lower, both when controlling and not controlling for difficulty of the conflict environment.

60 The correlation between number of justice principles and the measure of centrality of the principles is strong (.59). Number of principles also correlates significantly with implementation (r = .65). However, when the centrality variable is removed by partial correlation, the relationship between number of principles and durability drops to borderline significance (.48). Although not interchangeable with the centrality variable, number of principles is part of a cluster of correlated variables that includes centrality, implementation, and difficulty. The former three variables load positively while the fourth variable (difficulty) loads negatively on the same factor. This factor accounts for two-thirds of the explained variation in the analysis.

61 Similar results were obtained from a regression analysis. A significant main effect was obtained for difficulty, a borderline effect for justice (p < .10) and a borderline interaction between difficulty and justice. The interaction bolsters our interpretation of a modest moderating effect of justice on the relationship between difficulty and outcomes.

62 The related samples tests are based on the assumption that the four principles are multiple (correlated) measures of the same construct. An independent samples test is based on the assumption that the measures are uncorrelated. None of the six correlations among the four types of principles approach significance; they range from .03 to .40. A one-way ANOVA for independent samples was also calculated showing similar results: F = 7, 3 df, p < .0001. Tukey post hoc multiple comparisons showed that equality was more central to the agreements than proportionality (p < .0001), compensation (p < .081), and need (p < .066).

63 The borderline finding is impressive given the challenge of attaining a significant z with a small number of cases.

64 Paris, At War's End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict (source used by the coders).

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68 See also Jarstad and Sundberg, ‘Peace by pact’.

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77 Cameron, Maxwell A. and Tomlin, Brian W., The Making of NAFTA: How the Deal was Done (Ithaca, NY.: Cornell University Press, 2000)Google Scholar . See also the ten trade cases analysed in Druckman for turning points in the negotiation process. (Druckman, Daniel, ‘Turning Points in International Negotiation: A Comparative Analysis’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 45 (2001), pp. 519544Google Scholar ). These cases can also be used to evaluate the justice-durability hypothesis.

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