Conflicting Identities : Solidary Incentives in the Serbo-Croatian War

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Duffy, Gavan (2002) Conflicting Identities : Solidary Incentives in the Serbo-Croatian War , Journal of Peace Research 39(1): 69–90.


Conflict elites often mobilize by distributing to their constituents solidary incentives to participation. Although elites find this strategy relatively cost-free at mobilization time, it greatly limits their action possibilities at conflict settlement time. The non-retractability of solidary incentives limits the ability of leaders to accommodate their adversaries. It thereby tends to produce protracted conflicts. This article draws upon the Serbo-Croatian conflict to illustrate this general proposition. It shows how distributions of solidary incentives contributed to the protractedness of the 1990-95 conflict between Croatia and Serbia following the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The reliance of political leaders on solidary incentives also helps account for subsequent difficulties in implementing the Dayton Peace Agreement. The article concludes by reflecting on how the non-retractability of solidary incentives could affect practical strategies for producing peace in this setting.