Civil war duration: Elite incentives and the choice to keep fighting
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The mean duration for 130 civil wars from 1945-2008 was 6.8 years. Seventy-eight of those wars lasted seven years or less and of those wars, 21 lasted less than a year. This leaves 52 wars that have lasted longer than average and within that group 27 have lasted longer than 15 years, or twice the average. What accounts for these wars of longer duration? Research involving rebel predation and civil war duration indicates several explanations. Some research posits that rebel groups are apolitical, motivated by material incentives and focus on the need to continue fighting in order to continue to enjoy such benefits. On a different avenue, some researchers posit that the rebels have sincere political grievances and predation acts as a source of funding which allows them to continue fighting for political goals and avoid outright military defeat. This project will look to combine both approaches to develop a causal narrative involving both sincere political grievances and intra-war material incentives through the development of a bargaining model of intra-war negotiation. By endogenizing the mechanism that creates predatory opportunity to the presence of conflict, and thus divorcing economic gain from the original rebel motivation, rebels can possess both political and economic demands that must be satisfied through intra-war negotiation for peace to occur. Furthermore, these opportunities from predation arise from rents that can be characterized as non-competitive which increase the rebels value for fighting while leaving the government's value relatively static. By doing so, this project is not one of elite-competition for control of rents as commonly posited in other research. What drives intra-war bargaining failure in the forthcoming model is that the government is unwilling to compensate the rebels for certain types of material incentives incurred by the rebel elite during conflict. Under certain conditions, conflict resolution fails because the government is unwilling to offer terms of peace that would satisfy the rebel's value for continued fighting. The empirical implications are explored through two qualitative chapters involving the Mozambique Civil War and the Colombian Civil war, respectively. One of the main contributions of the formal model is endogenzing the causal mechanism which produces the outcomes of longer duration. As the causal mechanism is of vital importance to the project and distinguishes it from previous research, a research design built on process tracing that will allow for such an investigation is most appropriate. Process tracing is employed to find evidence of the causal mechanism.