​Hartzell, Caroline A & Matthew Hoddie (2020) Power Sharing and Democracy in Post-Civil War States: The Art of the Possible. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

​ISBN: 978-1-108-47803-8

Anna Jarstad

Uppsala University

Read more about this book: www.cambridge.org

​This is a very interesting and pedagogical account on power sharing and democracy in post-civil war states. The authors clearly describe how challenging this context is, and why we should not expect liberal democracy to take root soon after the end of a civil war. This is a convincing argument; they show that minimalist, Schumpeterian democracy with free elections is more common in post-civil war states with power sharing. They also provide good arguments for how power sharing contributes to democratization from above via strengthening the rule of law and democratization from below via a more equitable distribution of resources by the state. However, the authors suggest that there is a causal relationship between power sharing and elections, but their work is based on agreements, that is promises of power sharing, and not actual implementation. They fail to recognize that almost all power sharing agreements also include provisions for elections. Hence, the temporal dimension necessary for a causal relationship is lacking. Instead, it is plausible that the same variable causes both power sharing and elections. Their quantitative results contradict other research, including my own, which finds elections to be more common following a peace process without power sharing. One reason is that different definitions of power sharing are employed. In contrast to the most common notion of power sharing, guaranteed positions in government is not a necessary component of Hartzell & Hoddie's definition, and in an earlier publication they found that only one peace agreement signed between 1946 and 1998 did not include power sharing. Despite these objections, this is a very good read with useful policy implications.