Centre for Studies in Democratisation
CSD
Students' Working Paper Series
Facilitating Peace: Democracy Building
Following Violent Conflict
Shanila De Silva
MA International Relations, Department of Politics &
International Studies, University of Warwick
[email protected]
Working Paper n. 1/ 2011
Centre for Studies in Democratisation
Department of Politics and International Studies
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/research/csd/
The Centre for Studies in Democratisation (CSD) was established at
the University of Warwick in 1992 in response to a growing interest
in the study of democracy at a theoretical and empirical level.
Democratisation has become a central political theme and features
now prominently on the foreign policy agenda of western countries.
Members of CSD are seeking to understand why, how and when
democracies emerge, sustain or collapse. They also investigate the
reasons why democratisation can sometimes be problematic.
Do not hesitate to contact us for more information!
Renske Doorenspleet (Director):
[email protected]
Or visit our website:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/research/csd/
Abstract
The idea of democracy building as a solution to violent conflict is a
challenging one. Statistically, with high levels of stable and evenly
distributed growth, and sufficient governance, regime type becomes
unimportant to peace. However, democracy’s strength lies in its inherent
ability to deliver these conditions. Where policy-makers and theorists run
into problems is in the transition and design process of democracy following
civil conflict. The following paper argues that in combination with growth
and governance, democracy can have a positive impact on the peace
process. While democracy building can be challenging, there are ways to
mitigate potential instability and to design around potential hurdles. Given
democracy’s intrinsic qualities, policy makers should focus on effective
design of democracy and on facilitating conditions for growth and
governance. Such a combination should theoretically result in a stable
system. While reality does not always follow theory, the cases examined in
this paper show that these conditions are effective and mutually reinforcing.
They go on to demonstrate, that while there is no perfect model to create
post-conflict stability, with a carefully managed transition, and a series of
necessary conditions, democracy can help to facilitate peace in a developing
country.
Keywords: Democracy Building; Democratic Transitions; Violent Conflict;
Peacebuilding; Post Conflict Stability
Facilitating Peace: Democracy Building Following Violent Conflict
Shanila De Silva
INTRODUCTION
Understanding the relationship between democracy and violent
conflict is a challenge to policy makers and theorists alike. Historically, 31%
of conflicts where violence has ended see a resumption of hostilities within
the first 10 years.1 This seems to suggest that we have not come up with an
effective formula for maintaining peace. Much of the literature points to the
following two strategies as effective methods of addressing conflict: policy
makers should either focus on overall economic growth, or the maintenance
of security through effective governance.2 Democracy is often seen as an end
goal or else is treated as an expected outcome given a prolonged period of
peace and prosperity.3 This approach ignores democracy’s ability to be a
positive solution to civil conflict.
In a developing country, following a conflict, liberal democracy, and
the institutions built into it, may be able to provide the tools for a stable
resolution and overall political stability. This is assuming that the
democratization process happens in a way that takes into account the causes
of conflict, the settlement environment and carefully manages the settlement
1
2
Bigombe, Betty, Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis. “Policies for building post-conflict
peace.” Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 323.
Snyder, Jack. From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist conflict. New York
and London: Norton (2000).
3
Rodrik, Dani and Romain Wacziarg. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad
Economic Outcomes?." American Economic Review 95 (2005), 50.
1
arrangements.4 The literature on conflict resolution is quick to say that there
is no perfect model that provides a solution to civil conflict.5 It also
advocates a country-specific, tailored approach to peace and stability. While
this is true, we can actually identify some specific policies.6
This essay argues that, while democracy is not a sufficient
condition for stability immediately following a violent conflict, it may
accelerate its attainment. Furthermore it argues that democracy is better
equipped to provide the necessary conditions for stability, including growth
and good governance. The series of conditions and examples examined in
this essay demonstrate that post-conflict stability is a tricky process for
which there are no catch all approaches, but, that if carefully implemented,
democracy can play a positive role.
DEFINING DEMOCRACY BUILDING
Much
of
the
literature
discusses
the
concepts
of
democratization, democracy assistance and democracy promotion, but
democracy building remains a mystery. The idea of ‘democracy building’
implies change over time. Here, I take it to mean the building of more
effective democratic institutions, whether this means a transition out of
4
Hartzell, Caroline, Matthew Hoddie and Donald Rothchild. “Stabilizing the Peace After Civil
War: An Investigation of Some Key Variables.” International Organization 55:1 (2001), 183–
208.
5
Kaufmann, Chaim. “Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars.”
International Security 20:4 (1996), 136 – 175. Also see Barnes, Samuel H. “The
Contribution of Democracy to Rebuilding Postconflict Societies.” American Journal of
International Law 95:1 (2001), 86 – 101.
6
Bigombe, Betty, Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis. “Policies for building post-conflict
peace.” Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 324.
2
dictatorship or better democratic design. It also implies a choice of regime
type, meaning that the peacebuilding process involves a choice between the
implementation of autocracy or democracy. For the purposes of this essay,
democracy implies liberal democratic institutions. The ways in which these
institutions are built play a large role in the prospects for peace over both the
long and short run.
To assess democracy’s contribution to solving violent conflict, it is
important to go beyond the idea of a simple electoral democracy. Collier
points out the distinction between electoral democracy and true democracy,7
noting that a ‘proper’ democracy does not merely consist of competitive,
multi-party elections, but includes rules for the conduct of elections, as well
as checks and balances to limit the power of governments, once elected.8
This definition distinguishes democracy from illiberal democracy or semiauthoritarian regimes and instead categorizes democracy as containing
genuine checks and balances and mechanisms to ensure popular
participation.9
I also want to clearly distinguish this definition of democracy building
from the overall definition of peacebuilding. Peacebuilding and democracy
building are different processes. Peacebuilding involves external actors and
focuses on maintaining stability until it is reasonable for peacekeepers to
mount an exit strategy.10 Although I will address this transition process
7
8
Collier, Paul. Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places. London: The Bodley
Head, Random House (2009), 15.
Ibid.
9
Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein. The Democracy
Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York and London:
Routledge (2005).
10
Collier, Paul, Anke Hoeffler and Mans Soderbom. “Post-conflict risks,” in Conflict,
Political Accountability and Aid, Paul Collier (Ed.). London and New York: Routledge
3
briefly, my analysis primarily focuses on the benefits of democracy and the
ways in which it addresses the causes of conflict and promotes stability in
the longer term.
CAUSES OF CONFLICT
It is assumed that the risk of a resurgence of conflict is higher
in a post-conflict society because it still contains the elements that made it
prone to this risk in the first place.11 Therefore, it is important to understand
the causes of conflict in order to effectively assess solutions. Causes are
numerous and idiosyncratic. Overall however, they can be narrowed down to
some combination of social, political and economic factors.12
Civil wars often persist because of state weakness – a decreased
ability to provide social goods to its citizens and maintain rule-of-law.13
Conflict affected nations have a history of weak social contracts, largely
characterized by a lack of political representation.14 Corruption and social
cleavages also increase the incidence of violent conflict. The former does so
through its corrosive effect on rules-based institutions.15 Many conflicts can
(2011), 86 – 103.
11
Bigombe, Betty, Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis. “Policies for building postconflict peace.” Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 325.
12
Fearon , James and David Laitin. “Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war.” American
Political Science Review 97:1 (2003), 75 – 90. Also see Collier, Paul and Anke Hoeffler.
“Greed and Grievance in Civil War,” in Conflict, Political Accountability and Aid, Paul
Collier (Ed.). London and New York: Routledge (2011), 1 - 34.
13
Acemoglu,Daron, Davide Ticchi, and Andrea Vindigni. “Persistence of Civil Wars.”
NBER Working Paper No. 15378 (September 2009).
14
Murshed, S. “Conflict, civil war and underdevelopment: an introduction.” Journal of Peace
Research 4:39 (2002), 387 – 393.
15
Addison, T. and M. Murshed. “Explaining violent conflict: going beyond greed versus
grievance.” Journal of International Development 15 (2003), 391 – 396.
4
occur along religious or ethnic lines, often because these issues can be easily
manipulated by politicians.16 These social cleavages often combine with
economic factors to generate conflict.17
Collier and Hoeffler explain the outbreak of civil conflict in
terms of economic opportunities.18 They highlight the importance of conflict
financing, primarily through natural resource rents, noting that countries that
rely on primary exports are more likely to break into conflict.19 Slow growth
and low GDP are also important determinants of the eruption of conflict.
Overall, countries with low incomes are disproportionately more likely to be
involved in civil wars.20 Grievances often begin as a result of economic
inequality. This inequality combines with a series of factors to breed
conflict.21
Specific,
identifiable
horizontal
inequalities,
which
are
inequalities among a group with a shared identity, can lead to state collapse
and civil war.22 While conflicts have a cultural dimension, it has been found
that a simple cultural explanation is insufficient, meaning that cultural
dimensions are the result of economic and political factors.23
16
Collier, Paul, V.L. Elliot, Havard Hegre, Anke Hoeffler, Marta Reynal-Querol and Nicholas
Sambanis. Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy. Oxford: Oxford
University Press (2003).
17
Addison, T. and M. Murshed. “Explaining violent conflict: going beyond greed versus
grievance.” Journal of International Development 15 (2003), 391 – 396.
18
Collier, Paul and Anke Hoeffler. “Greed and Grievance in Civil War,” in Conflict,
Political Accountability and Aid, Paul Collier (Ed.). London and New York: Routledge
(2011), 1.
19
Ibid.
20
Besley, Tim and Torsten Persson. “The incidence of civil wars: Theory and Evidence.”
NBER Working Paper No. 14585 (2008). Also see Collier, Paul and Dominic Rohner.
“Democracy Development and Conflict.” Journal of the European Economic Association
6:2-3 (2008), 531.
21
22
23
Murshed, S Mansoob, “Conflict, civil war and underdevelopment: an introduction.” Journal
of Peace Research 4:39 (2002), 387 – 393.
Ibid.
Stewart, Frances. “Policies towards Horizontal Inequalities in Post-Conflict
5
The economic, political and social cleavages mentioned above
can be created or exacerbated by international factors. Histories of
colonialism may increase the prospects of rebellion in a country.24 Rebellion
may occur as a spill-over from violence in a neighbouring country.25 In fact,
some cases involve deliberate destabilization on the part of neighbouring
countries.26
Many of these causes work together and drive each other.
While these causes can change in significance during the period of conflict,
better policy offers considerable scope to reduce conflict repetition.27 Where
the causes of conflict are varied, the strategies of resolution must be varied
as well. While it is true that there is no perfect model, there are several
points of convergence in the literature around the basic conditions that are
necessary in order to promote peace and stability in a developing country
following a conflict.
Each of these causes can be addressed, to differing extents, by liberal
democracy. Lack of strong democratic institutions often combines with other
factors to precipitate civil war.28 It is often argued that democracy is
intrinsically good,29 but that post-conflict countries should wait before
Reconstruction,” in Making Peace Work: The Challenges of Social and Economic
Reconstruction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2009), 136 – 174.
24
25
26
27
28
Murshed, S. “Conflict, civil war and underdevelopment: an introduction.” Journal of Peace
Research 4:39 (2002), 390.
Doornbos, M. “State collapse and fresh starts: Some critical reflections.” Development and
Change 33:5 (2002), 797 – 813.
Ibid.
Bigombe, Betty, Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis. “Policies for building post-conflict
peace.” Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 347.
Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Nicholas Sambanis. “Why are there so many civil wars in Africa?”
Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 228 – 49.
29
Sen, Amartya. “Democracy as a Universal Value.” Journal of Democracy 10:3 (1999).
3 – 17.
6
becoming democratic.30 This assumes that democratic processes lead to
violence. I argue however that this is not the case.
DEMOCRACY AND POST-CONFLICT STABILITY
Elbadawi and Sambanis identify an “appropriate political framework
which focuses on participation, inclusion and consensus building” as an
essential condition for preventing a resurgence of conflict.31 Mature
democracies are the most likely to provide this since the process of change is
more stable.32 This, combined with democracies’ intrinsic value,33 seems to
suggest that “liberal democracies are really the only type of regimes that can
truly insulate themselves from violent internal challenges.”34
Democracy can provide a series of goods that help to offset the
effects of some of the aforementioned triggers of conflict. Democratic peace
theory, or the idea that democracies rarely go to war with each other, is
thought to apply solely to interactions between states. However, there is a
growing recognition that democracies may be more peaceful overall.35
30
31
Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein. The Democracy
Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York and London:
Routledge (2005), 94.
Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Nicholas Sambanis. “Why are there so many civil wars in Africa?”
Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 265 – 266.
32
Walter, Barbara F. “Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War.”
Journal of Peace Research 41:3 (2004), 382. Also see Feng, Yi. “Democracy, political
stability and economic growth.”British Journal of Political Science 27 (1997), 391 – 418.
33
Collier, Paul and Lisa Chauvet. “Elections and economic policy in developing
countries,” in Conflict, Political Accountability and Aid, Paul Collier (Ed.). London and
New York: Routledge (2011), 254.
34
Walter, Barbara F. “Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War.” Journal
of Peace Research 41:3 (2004), 382.
35
Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein. The Democracy
Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York and London:
Routledge (2005), 96.
7
Growing evidence shows that democracies experience fewer civil wars than
non-democracies.36 This is because democratic governments manage social
conflict by channelling issues into conventional politics. In addition, they are
both able to, and obligated to, incorporate multiple interests into their
policies. Furthermore, increased political rights and civil liberties means that
democracy in a developing country decreases the likelihood of grievancebased rebellion.37
Democracy has a positive effect on the quality of governance by
constraining the behaviour of political elites in the long term.38 This
constraint, we will see, is essential to stability. One cannot assume leaders
will always have the best interests of their populations in mind.39 In fact,
rulers with discretionary power will often set up policies that benefit the few
rather than the many.40 Democracy consistently keeps this behaviour in
check by making policies subject to public scrutiny and by providing
alternatives in the form of opposition parties.41
Democracies’ features can thus address the causes of conflict, but
democracy alone cannot cure all ills, particularly in the period immediately
following conflict. According to the vast body of literature, growth, and
good governance are necessary conditions for stability following violent
36
37
38
39
40
41
Ibid.
Reynal-Querol, Marta. “Ethnicity, political systems and civil wars.”Journal of Conflict
Resolution 46:1 (2002), 35.
Tavares, Jose and Romain Wacziarg. “How democracy affects growth.” European Economic
Review 45:8 (2001), 1344.
Halperin et. al. The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and
Peace. New York and London: Routledge (2005), 26.
Tavares, Jose and Romain Wacziarg. “How democracy affects growth.” European Economic
Review 45:8 (2001), 1344.
Ibid.
8
conflict.42 The benefit of democracy comes from its ability to deliver these
conditions.43 Growth, governance and democracy, are mutually reinforcing.
Whereas growth and governance are essential for democracy to remain
stable, democracy reinforces the stability of growth and good governance.
Together, they address the aforementioned causes of conflict and can
theoretically maintain stability over the long term. The problem, I argue, lies
not with democracy, but rather with the short term processes of
democratization and democratic design.
DEMOCRACY AND GROWTH
Economic growth is an essential condition for stability. We
know that below $2700 of income per capita, that a country is likely to be
unstable.44 Collier et al. collected data from 161 countries and found a
significant correlation between low levels of income and the incidence of
war.45 Thus countries are encouraged to focus on economic growth during
the peace process.46 Statistically, democracies are on par with dictatorships
42
Collier, Paul and Dominic Rohner. “Democracy Development and Conflict.” Journal of the
European Economic Association 6:2-3 (2008), 531 – 540. Also see Elbadawi, Ibrahim and
Nicholas Sambanis. “Why are there so many civil wars in Africa?” Journal of African
Economies 9:3 (2000), 244 – 269.
43
Ibid. Also see Rodrik, Dani and Romain Wacziarg. "Do Democratic Transitions
Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?." American Economic Review 95 (2005), 50.
44
45
46
Collier, Paul and Dominic Rohner. “Democracy Development and Conflict.” Journal of the
European Economic Association 6:2-3 (2008), 531 – 540.
Collier, Paul, Anke Hoeffler and Nicholas Sambanis. “The Collier-Hoeffler Model of Civil
War Onset and the Case Study Project Research Design,” Understanding Civil War: Evidence
and Analysis. Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis (Eds). Washington: The International Bank
for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank (2005), 1 – 34.
Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein. The Democracy
Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York and London:
Routledge (2005), 96.
9
in terms of growth.47 However, when making decisions about regime type,
democracies may be more compatible with development and stability
because they have positive effects on the sustainability and distribution of
growth. Indeed, with the long run in mind, democracy is preferable to an
authoritarian regime. 48
Effects of Growth
In the short term, growth can prevent potential combatants from
reverting to conflict.49 Walter explains that countries where citizens enjoy
higher levels of economic growth are less likely to revert back to war.50 The
logic behind this is that rebels rely on local recruits. In countries where
citizens are engaged in the economy, it becomes more costly to go to war.51
In the medium term, low levels of income can increase the risks
of a reversion to conflict.52 Moreover, sustained growth dilutes the tensions
that fuel conflict. Fearon and Laitin found that by holding economic growth
constant, ethnic or ideologically divided societies were not more likely to
experience conflict than more homogeneous societies.53 This demonstrates
the significance of economic factors in the occurrence of conflict. In
countries that are heavily reliant on primary commodities, this growth is
47
48
Diamond, Larry. "Three Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1:3 (1990), 53.
Feng, Yi. “Democracy, political stability and economic growth.”British Journal of Political
Science 27 (1997), 391 – 418.
49
Walter, Barbara F. “Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War.”
Journal of Peace Research 41:3 (2004), 382.
50
Ibid, 371 – 388.
51
Ibid, 372 – 374.
52
Barnes, Samuel H. “The Contribution of Democracy to Rebuilding Postconflict
Societies. American Journal of International Law 95:1 (2001), 87.
53
Fearon , James and David Laitin. “Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war.” American
Political Science Review 97:1 (2003), 75 – 90.
10
essential in order to increase the expected costs of rebellion.54
Over the long term, in order to preventing a reversion to conflict,
growth must be sustained and distributed evenly.55 A number of civil wars
have been started largely as a result of low income and high inequality.56 It
becomes essential, therefore to address these issues. Democracy does this
better than other regime types.57 Furthermore, assuming that growth happens
in a market economy, which is usually the case,58 democracy may be better
equipped to effectively distribute the gains from growth.59
Growth and Democracy
Rodrick and Wacziarg show that democratization is not bad for
economic performance and that, in fact, democracies have positive effects on
growth.60 They conclude that the idea that political reforms should wait until
a country is ‘mature enough’ for democracy, or the idea that growth should
precede democracy, is not supported by evidence.61 The assumption that
54
55
56
Collier, Paul, V.L. Elliot, Havard Hegre, Anke Hoeffler, Marta Reynal-Querol and Nicholas
Sambanis. Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy. Oxford: Oxford
University Press (2003).
Ibid.
Murshed, S. “Conflict, civil war and underdevelopment: an introduction.” Journal of Peace
Research 4:39 (2002), 387 – 393.
57
Rodrik, Dani and Romain Wacziarg. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad
Economic Outcomes?." American Economic Review 95 (2005), 50. Also see Persson,
Torsten and Guido Tabellini. "Democracy and development: The devil in the details."
American Economic Review 96 (2006), 321.
58
Bhagwati, Jagdish N. “Democracy and Development” Cruel Dilemma or
Symbiotic Relationship?” Review of Development Economics 6:2.
(2002) 158.
59
Collier, Paul and Lisa Chauvet. “Elections and economic policy in developing
countries,” in Conflict, Political Accountability and Aid, Paul Collier (Ed.). London and
New York: Routledge (2011), 293.
60
Rodrik, Dani and Romain Wacziarg. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad
Economic Outcomes?" American Economic Review 95 (2005), 50.
61
Ibid, 56.
11
autocracies are better equipped to grow the economy presupposes that
autocracies deliver better performance than democracy, which, in their
analysis, is shown to be false.62
A market system may reduce the tendency towards corruption by
providing higher standards of living and alternative pathways for
advancement.63 However, in a market economy there are winners and losers,
and while growth, overall, may be a stabilizing factor, inequalities can be
destabilizing.64 Wittman explains that in a democracy, it is in the interest of
policy makers to create policies that result in a more equitable distribution of
the gains from growth the gains from growth.65 A more even distribution,
including higher investment in human capital, enhances overall stability.66
Democracy can maintain the high standards of living and substantial
economic growth that are required for long term stability.67
Besley and Kudamatsu show that autocracies that achieve high levels
of growth are those which constrain the behaviour of their leader, meaning
that it is not the case that all dictatorships benefit from growth.68 Growth
seems to be correlated with constrained leaders.69 Liberal democracies have
62
63
64
Ibid, 56.
Barnes, Samuel H. “The Contribution of Democracy to Rebuilding Postconflict Societies.
American Journal of International Law 95:1 (2001), 92. Also see Diamond, Larry. "Three
Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1:3 (1990), 51.
Stewart, Frances. “Policies towards Horizontal Inequalities in Post-Conflict Reconstruction,”
in Making Peace Work: The Challenges of Social and Economic Reconstruction. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan (2009), 155.
65
Wittman, Donald. “Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results.” The Journal of
Political Economy 97:6 (1989), 1395 – 1424.
66
67
68
69
Diamond, Larry. "Three Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1:3 (1990), 51.
Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Nicholas Sambanis. “Why are there so many civil wars in Africa?”
Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 244 – 269.
Besley, Timothy and Masayuki Kudamatsu. “Making Autocracy Work,” in Institutions and
Economic Performance, Elhanan Helpman (Ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press
(2008), 498 – 499.
Besley, Tim. Principled Agents: The Political Economy of Good Government. Oxford: Oxford
12
constraints built in, through the ability of voters to discipline politicians.70
They also make sure that political change, in the event of inadequate
leadership, is regular and stable rather than irregular and unstable. This
regular-change effect has further positive impacts on growth.71
Democracy and growth are mutually reinforcing.72 While
democracy can have a positive effect on post-conflict stability, this effect is
more pronounced when a country’s income is higher.73 Overall, “countries
whose citizens enjoy high levels of economic well being and have access to
a more open political system are significantly less likely to experience
multiple civil wars than autocratic countries with low levels of individual
welfare.”74 An appropriately moulded democratic system, combined with
effective institutions results in stable, growth oriented states.75 Effective
institutions highlight the importance of governance, which is the next
condition necessary for stability and is as important as economic
management.76
70
University Press (2006), 25.
Ibid, 95 – 96.
71
Feng, Yi. “Democracy, political stability and economic growth.”British Journal of
Political Science 27 (1997), 407.
72
Ibid.
73
Collier, Paul and Dominic Rohner. “Democracy Development and Conflict.” Journal
of the European Economic Association 6:2-3 (2008), 532.
74
Walter, Barbara F. “Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War.”
Journal of Peace Research 41:3 (2004), 372.
75
76
Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Nicholas Sambanis. “Why are there so many civil wars in Africa?”
Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 244 – 269.
Ibid.
13
DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE
Elbadawi and Sambanis point to effective governance as an important
tool for managing social, ethnic and political diversity in post conflict
situations.77 Brinkerhoff identifies three targets for governance in post
conflict societies. These include legitimacy, security and effectiveness.78
Legitimacy
The accountability and legitimacy associated with a vibrant
political culture helps to facilitate stability in a developing country with
previous experience of civil war.79 This political culture can be created by a
vigorous civil society.80 Liberal democracy has the presence of civil society
built into it, with the two factors working together in a mutually reinforcing
relationship.81 Civil society provides a variety of social goods, namely by
enhancing accountability and representativeness.82 It also enhances the
vitality of democracy. The persistence of democracy in a number of states,
owes much to the presence of strong voluntary organizations.83
Part of governance and reconstituting legitimacy involves the
building of a strong political culture. In order for democracy to be effective,
77
Ibid. Also see Hippler, J. “ Democratization after civil wars – key problems and experiences.”
Democratization 15:3 (2008), 562.
78
Brinkerhoff, D. “Rebuilding governance in failed states and post conflict societies:
Core concepts and cross-cutting themes.” Public Administration and Development 25
(2005), 3 – 14.
79
80
81
82
83
Elbadawi, Ibrahim and Nicholas Sambanis. “Why are there so many civil wars in Africa?”
Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 228 – 49.
Diamond, Larry. "Three Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1:3 (1990), 54.
Halperin et. Al. The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and
Peace. New York and London: Routledge (2005), 16.
Diamond, Larry. "Three Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1:3 (1990), 54.
Ibid.
14
it is important that citizens care about politics.84 In addition, a democratic
political culture requires tolerance, trust, cooperation, and accommodation.85
However, such a political culture cannot be created overnight. It requires the
aforementioned forces of socio-economic development and investment in
human capital in order to develop. The absence of such a democratic culture
renders the legitimacy of a regime more vulnerable to erosion.86
Security
A significant threat to the establishment of security in a country is
state failure define state failure.87 One of the key ways that democracy
contributes to governance is that it reduces the risk of state failure.88 Failed
states are considered breeding grounds for conflict.89 The stronger a
country’s democratic institutions, the lower the likelihood of it becoming a
failed state.90
Effectiveness
Another benefit of democracy comes from its ability to provide
public goods. We have seen in the section above that democracy can have
84
85
Ibid, 56.
Ibid.
86
Collier, Paul and Lisa Chauvet. “Elections and economic policy in developing
countries,” in Conflict, Political Accountability and Aid, Paul Collier (Ed.). London and
New York: Routledge (2011), 258 – 259.
87
88
89
90
Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein. The Democracy
Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York and London:
Routledge (2005), 97.
Ibid.
Hippler, J. “ Democratization after civil wars – key problems and experiences.”
Democratization 15:3 (2008), 553.
Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein. The Democracy
Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York and London:
Routledge (2005), 97.
15
positive effects on growth and distribution. Democracy has built in
constraints that require it to provide its citizens with goods. Democracy
creates a system in which needs can be translated into demands.91 The flow
of information in a liberal democracy provides the ability and the incentive
to translate information into pressure on the government.92
Democracies can adapt to changing circumstances.93 They are
‘learning organizations’ which gather information and, through a process of
trial and error, change policies accordingly.94 Thus democracy ensures that
effectiveness can be rebuilt and that, overall, governments remain effective.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ALL THREE CONDITIONS
In theory, the presence of all three conditions should result in stability.
The following examples discuss the ways in which these three factors can
work together to manage conflict.
Indonesia
The case of Indonesia highlights the necessity of growth to decreasing
the likelihood of a recurrence of war. In Indonesia, the rebellion could not
find recruits as a result of improved living conditions, increased GDP and
rapid growth.95 Governance and growth made it possible in this case, to raise
91
92
93
94
95
Bhagwati, Jagdish N. “Democracy and Development” Cruel Dilemma or Symbiotic
Relationship?” Review of Development Economics 6:2, (2002) 156.
Ibid, 157.
Halperin et. Al. The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and
Peace. New York and London: Routledge (2005). Also see Besley, Tim. Principled Agents:
The Political Economy of Good Government. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2006), 25.
Halperin et. Al. The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and
Peace. New York and London: Routledge (2005).
Walter, Barbara F. “Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War.”
16
the costs of a reversion to warfare. The idea behind this is that citizens
whose incomes are low and have no political means of improving their
living standards are the ones more likely to enlist in a rebel organization.96
Afghanistan
The difficulties around peace enforcement in Afghanistan
highlight the importance of good governance. Simple elections without
growth or effective governance, make Afghanistan a potential breeding
ground for renewed conflict, with violence and instability persisting during
the peacebuilding process.97 Weak governance on the part of the elected
administration undermines the legitimacy of the elected governments.98 The
result is a power shift in favour of a number of warlords.99 Slow growth in
the country results in the development of illegal economies, particularly the
opium trade.100 Civil society, accountability, and the liberties typically
associated with a liberal democratic system are not present in the country.
The example shows that purely electoral democracy is insufficient to
maintain stability making Afghanistan an open question for policy makers.
Mozambique
Mozambique is a case where democracy, governance and growth were
Journal of Peace Research 41:3 (2004), 375.
96
97
98
99
100
Ibid, 385.
Addison, Tony and Tillman Bruck. “Achieving Peace, Participation and Prosperity,” in
Making Peace Work: The Challenges of Social and Economic Reconstruction. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan (2009), 30.
Addison, Tony and Tillman Bruck. “Achieving Peace, Participation and Prosperity,” in
Making Peace Work: The Challenges of Social and Economic Reconstruction. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan (2009), 30.
Ibid, 16.
Ibid,18.
17
implemented and managed effectively. Considered a success story for
stability building,101 Mozambique implemented a series of policies that
resulted in its peace and stability following civil war.102 In the years since its
1992 peace agreement, it has experienced a number of multi-party elections.
With strong support given to institution building, it has been relatively
successful at reducing poverty and stimulating growth.103
While it does fit the criteria of an electoral democracy, it does suffer
for a lack of the civil society and checks on power built into liberal
democracy. Stewart notes that while Mozambique is a case where growth
was managed effectively, the electoral system results in a government that
has little incentive to manage horizontal inequalities. In a country where
horizontal inequality was a primary driver for conflict, this could prove to be
difficult. The country is heavily reliant on aid to manage horizontal
inequalities104 and a more representative, liberal system of government may
be able to manage such inequalities in the long run. Overall however, the
case of Mozambique demonstrates that where all three conditions,
democracy, growth and governance, are in place, stability will follow.
Note that growth, governance, and democracy help to manage
conflict, but the reality remains that there is no perfect model. Examples
101
102
103
104
Hellsten, Sirkku. “Ethics, Rhetoric, and Politics of Post-Conflict Reconstruction,” in Making
Peace Work: The Challenges of Social and Economic Reconstruction. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Macmillan (2009), 76. Also see, Stewart, Frances. “Policies towards Horizontal Inequalities
in Post-Conflict Reconstruction,” in Making Peace Work: The Challenges of Social and
Economic Reconstruction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (2009), 156.
Stewart, Frances. “Policies towards Horizontal Inequalities in Post-Conflict Reconstruction,”
in Making Peace Work: The Challenges of Social and Economic Reconstruction. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan (2009), 155.
Ibid, 156.
Addison, Tony and Tillman Bruck. “Achieving Peace, Participation and Prosperity,” in
Making Peace Work: The Challenges of Social and Economic Reconstruction. Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan (2009), 23.
18
vary as the result of any number of additional factors. For every country in
which democracy can provide positive results, there are a number of
countries where democracy building can be followed by instability. During
the transition process a number of factors need to be considered.
MANAGING DEMOCRACY BUILDING
Overall democracy can have a positive effect in post-conflict
countries, meaning that a stable democracy is more desirable than a stable
autocracy. The establishment of democracy, however, may be tricky. While
democracy may be able to prevent a reoccurrence of conflict in the long
term, many believe that in the term immediately following a conflict,
democracy will have destabilizing side effects.105 This is not caused by
democracy per se, but is the result of the settlement environment and
settlement arrangements.106 Mismanagement of the peacebuilding process
can have undesirable consequences, both for the stability and legitimacy of
democracy and for overall post-conflict stability. While democracy itself is
not undesirable, many variables need to be taken into account during its
implementation. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but is meant
to demonstrate that numerous other factors need to be present to ensure the
success of the democracy building process.
105
Paris, Roland. “Peacebuilding and the Limits of Liberal Internationalism.”
International Security 22:2 (1997), 55.
106
Hartzell, Caroline, Matthew Hoddie and Donald Rothchild. “Stabilizing the Peace After Civil
War: An Investigation of Some Key Variables.” International Organization 55:1 (2001), 183–
208.
19
Electoral Institutions
The choice of democratic electoral institutions is of vital
importance during the peacebuilding process and will have implications for
the stability of the political system over the long term. The trend in the
practice of democratization is toward systems of proportional representation.
However, while this makes a system more representative it also makes it less
governable.107 It does this for three reasons. Firstly, it ensures that
individuals are only accountable to the portion of the electorate that got them
into power. Secondly, it means that the same group of people are voted in
repeatedly and, hence, it is difficult to eliminate governments that are
implementing ineffective policies. This means more stability, but less choice.
Lastly, it creates issues of leverage. That is, large parties will often have to
balance the policies of small parties, which creates governability issues in
the event that there are more than two main parties in the system.108
Good
governance
involves
resolving
the
tension
between
governability and accountability.109 This means finding an effective balance
between sufficient concentration of power to choose and implement policies
with energy and efficiency and the ability to hold power accountable.110
“Each country must find its own way of resolving this universal tension,”
making the choice of institutions an important exercise.111
Several elements work to manage ethnic or ideological divides
within a democratic framework. These include federalism, proportionality in
107
108
109
110
111
Diamond, Larry. "Three Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1:3 (1990), 55.
Ibid, 55 – 56.
Hippler, J. “ Democratization after civil wars – key problems and experiences.”
Democratization 15:3 (2008), 558.
Diamond, Larry. "Three Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1:3 (1990), 53.
Ibid, 54.
20
the distribution of resources and power, minority rights and a sharing or
rotation of power.112 In Nigeria, a federal system had positive results for
conflict management. This was the case for several reasons. Federalism
worked to disperse conflict. It also generated intra-ethnic conflict while
inducing inter-ethnic cooperation. It created crosscutting cleavages,
meaning, parties would disagree about other issues than ethnicity. Lastly, it
worked to reduce disparities.113
Building Democratic Culture
Decentralization is an increasingly popular form of managing
post conflict societies through building democratic culture.114 Where ethnic
tensions are the main cause for conflict, decentralization has proved useful
leading to successful transitions in Uganda, Rwanda, and Eritrea.115
Following ideological conflicts, this approach empowers groups and reduces
political tensions. Bigombe et al. note the example of Uganda where
decentralization was used by Museveni’s administration to improve
accountability, equity and effectiveness.116 The decentralization process
included cultivating democratic practices at the local level by encouraging
local ownership, improving relations between local and central authorities,
and “taking decision making closer to the populations affected by the
reforms.”117 Here, decentralization was expected to enhance democratic
112
113
Ibid, 58.
Ibid.
114
Bigombe, Betty, Paul Collier and Nicholas Sambanis. “Policies for building postconflict peace.” Journal of African Economies 9:3 (2000), 344.
115
Ibid.
116
Ibid, 345.
117
Ibid.
21
culture by encouraging behaviours of “tolerance, development, consensus
and local reconciliation.”118
Political Elites
Political elites are essential to the institutionalization of good
governance in the short term. The tensions between elite interests and
marginalized populations are often overlooked in the peace process and need
to be addressed.119 Successful democracy building involves raising the costs
of conflict for these elites and lowering the costs of democracy.
In order for democratic governance to succeed, opposing parties must
come to some sort of agreement. Consolidation of democracy requires a
negotiation or an agreement by parties on the direction of reform, the
renunciation of certain types of political appeals, an agreement on the
sacrifices that all social forces will share and a method ensuring that the
burdens of adjustment are shared more fairly by all segments of society.120 A
successful example of this process was Venezuela in 1958, where political
and economic pacts were negotiated by potential elites, resulting in policy
stability regardless of election results.121
118
Ibid.
119
Call, C. And S. Cook. “On democractization and peacebuilding.” Global Governance 2
(2003), 236.
Diamond, Larry. "Three Paradoxes of Democracy." Journal of Democracy 1:3 (1990), 50 –
51.
Ibid, 51.
120
121
22
Internal vs. External Approaches
In recent history, external efforts at democratization have experienced
a surge.122 While it may be true that countries coming out of conflict may be
in need of both financial aid and policy advice, if country specific
circumstances are not taken into account, this aid may come at the expense
of stability.123 Hippler points out that external approaches to democratization
are problematic. Questions around motives and the maintenance of an
external occupation force present a challenge in war weary countries.124
Finally, in the case of complex local societies, external actors would likely
be unable to understand the context of the conflict and may exacerbate a
problem rather than solve it.125
The growing consensus is that democracy, good governance and good
economic policies cannot be implemented from the outside, but rather, have
to come from within.126 The marginal failure to implement post-war
democracy from the outside can be seen with the example of Cambodia,
where UN support for democracy was unsuccessful and resulted in a coup
that ousted the democratically elected government.127 This example shows
122
Hippler, J. “ Democratization after civil wars – key problems and experiences.”
Democratization 15:3 (2008), 554.
123
Collier, Paul and Anke Hoeffler. “Aid, policy and growth in post conflict-societies.”
European Economic Review 48 (2004), 1125 – 1145.
124
125
Hippler, J. “ Democratization after civil wars – key problems and experiences.”
Democratization 15:3 (2008), 565.
Ibid.
126
Collier, Paul and Lisa Chauvet. “Elections and economic policy in developing
countries,” in Conflict, Political Accountability and Aid, Paul Collier (Ed.). London and
New York: Routledge (2011), 253 – 298. Also see Bermeo, Nancy. “What the
democratization literature says – or doesn’t say – about postwar democratisation.”
Global Governance 9 (2003), 159 – 177.
127
Call, C. And S. Cook. “On democractization and peacebuilding.” Global Governance
2 (2003), 242.
23
the difficulty of implementing democracy without the necessary conditions
and also shows the difficulty of maintaining it in a country unfamiliar with
the processes.
Building Democracy vs. Re-building Democracy
Regime type before conflict plays an important role in the
chances for stability following the conflict.128 Hartzell, et al. explain that
civil settlements negotiated in countries where the previous regime was
democratic or semi-democratic, will be more stable than civil settlements
agreed upon in previously authoritarian regimes.129 These countries are
assumed to have more experience in accommodating competing interests.130
Where democracy has already been present it will have higher levels of
prestige and citizens will have a level of familiarity with its operating
principles.131
Some claim that too early an introduction of democracy may
result in increased hostilities.132 It is true that new democracies run the risk
of backtracking. This most often happens within the first two years of the
democratization process.133 This backtracking is often a result of a number of
factors including slow growth, further highlighting the importance of growth
128
129
130
Hartzell, Caroline, Matthew Hoddie and Donald Rothchild. “Stabilizing the Peace After Civil
War: An Investigation of Some Key Variables.” International Organization 55:1 (2001), 189.
Ibid,189.
Ibid.
131
Barnes, Samuel H. “The Contribution of Democracy to Rebuilding Postconflict
Societies. American Journal of International Law 95:1 (2001), 87.
132
Hippler, J. “ Democratization after civil wars – key problems and experiences.”
Democratization 15:3 (2008), 562.
133
Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein. The Democracy
Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York and London:
Routledge (2005).
24
and governance to this process.134
Overall, successful democracy building requires careful design that
takes a number of issues into account. As mentioned before, the causes of
conflict are varied and solutions must be varied as well. Any number of
factors can affect the viability of democracy, but the same could be said for
the peace building process overall. Regardless of regime type, the transition
process is tricky and requires careful design and management.
REGIME CHOICE AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Democracy, as we have seen above, is not a sufficient condition
and may not be a necessary condition for the immediate resolution of violent
conflict, but it does facilitate the necessary conditions. Two final issues need
to be addressed: alternatives and timelines.
While it is difficult to show a perfect model of democracy as a
solution to peace, it is necessary to examine the alternatives. There is little
evidence to show that alternative regimes types can sustain peace. Several
authors argue that clear democracies or clear autocracies are less likely to
experience violent conflict.135 It seems to be that semi-democratic or semiauthoritarian systems are the most likely to experience conflict.136
It seems to be the case that a clearly defined, stable regime, either
authoritarian or democratic, is necessary for building post conflict peace137.
However, Halperin et al. note that “autocracy, poverty and conflict are a
134
Ibid,75.
135
Walter, Barbara F. “Does Conflict Beget Conflict? Explaining Recurring Civil War.”
Journal of Peace Research 41:3 (2004), 382.
136
137
Ibid.
Ibid.
25
package deal.”138 This suggests that a stable democracy is better than an
autocracy. If, at above certain levels of income, autocracies become
unstable, it seems to suggest that we should be providing support for
democracy along with support for growth.
While Collier and Hoeffler’s analysis shows that below a certain level
of income, democracy may have destabilizing effects, they also show that
above that threshold, autocracies will be unstable.139 It seems that the risk of
instability in the transition process should not rule out democracy’s merits as
a potential long term solution. If designed correctly, with provisions made
for potentially unstable transitions, democracy, as we have seen above, is not
incompatible with peace, as long as it is combined with policies that result in
growth and good governance.
This brings us to the second issue, the one of timelines.
Creating stability, institutions, growth, and democratic culture all take time.
There are risks associated with the first two years following violent
conflict.140 Thus, it is important to implement policies that can mitigate
conflict risks over the long term. Arguably, autocracies have the ability to
quell rebellion over the short term,141 but, as we have seen above, this is
unsustainable. Both through its inherent ability to channel conflict into
politics, and through its positive effects on growth and good governance,
138
Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle and Michael M. Weinstein. The Democracy
Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace. New York and London:
Routledge (2005).
139
Collier, Paul and Dominic Rohner. “Democracy Development and Conflict.” Journal
of the European Economic Association 6:2-3 (2008), 531 – 540.
140
Collier, Paul, Anke Hoeffler and Mans Soderbom. “Post-conflict risks,” in Conflict,
Political Accountability and Aid, Paul Collier (Ed.). London and New York: Routledge
(2011), 94.
141
Collier, Paul. Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places. London: The
Bodley Head, Random House (2009).
26
democracy has the potential to manage conflict over the long term.
While the risks of conflict decrease over time, it is important to know
that they are only reduced marginally over the 10 year period.142 Meaning
that, the best choice of regime, is the one that can best maintain stability
over this decade. The best regime is the one best able to reduce poverty and
inequality and to provide good governance. Thus, implementing an
autocratic peace in the short term with the hope that it will result in long
term stability may not be the best way forward.143
CONCLUSIONS
Overall, democracy is not a necessary condition for peace.
However, if implemented carefully, with attention paid to the specific
circumstances of a country, its positive effects on stability, governance and
growth show that it can have an indirect, positive impact on the peace
process. While it is easy to point to democracy’s failings as a solution to
violent conflict, I argue that this mistakes the role that democracy plays.
Combined with growth and governance, democracy can provide the tools to
address the causes of conflict and to uphold stability in the long term.
Furthermore, the ability to maintain the necessary conditions of economic
growth and good governance are built into the nature of democracy. In fact,
when these conditions are met, dictatorships become more prone to conflict
than democracies. If regime type is less important in the short term, but
democracy is better in the long term, it is worthwhile to focus on ways to
142
Rodrik, Dani and Romain Wacziarg. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad
Economic Outcomes?." American Economic Review 95 (2005), 50 – 56.
143
Ibid.
27
ensure the stability of democracy, instead of myopically choosing an
authoritarian regime. While any number of the aforementioned variables can
have tremendous effects on the prospects for peace, this is not due to an ill
of democracy per se. The cases above have demonstrated that the approach
to peacebuilding must be careful and country specific, and that democracy
should not be discounted as a potential tool for forging stability.
28
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