How political institutions contribute to peace and conflict

The Governance research group looks at the interplay between aspects of governance and peace at the domestic and the international level. Governance is defined very broadly to include the formal institutions that regulate recruitment to and execution of political power as well as less formal structures and processes, including how decisions are implemented, human rights protection or violation, and informal power structures.

Research questions addressed by the group include:

  • What kind of political institutions are particularly likely to engender political violence, human rights violations and violations of countries' own constitutional regulations?
  • How do various political institutions influence the durability of peace after civil war?
  • Do different political institutions foster different types of collective violence?
  • How is the prevalence of violence affected by the effectiveness of law enforcement and societal means of controlling violence, and how does violence in turn change the practices and effectiveness of law enforcement?
  • When are conflict-related justice processes, such as trials, truth commissions, reparations, amnesties, purges, and exiles implemented, and what are their effects?
  • Is there a difference between justice processes implemented during and after armed conflict?
  • Why do governments choose different justice processes at different points during conflict trajectories and after war?
  • What is the relative importance of institutions of constraint, institutions of election/selection, and other aspects of governance to ensure non-violent politics?
  • What are the long-term effects on political violence of changes to political institutions?
  • How are the effects of political institutions on political violence mediated through stimulation of economic growth, reduction of intergroup inequality, property rights protection, and struggles over the setup of political institutions themselves?
  • How do global institutions of governance (e.g., the UN) affect political violence within and betwen countries?
  • What are the likely future trajectories of governance and political violence?

The research group will also be engaged in collecting data on governance- and human rights-related issues, such as indicators capturing aspects of political institutions and data on electoral violence and electoral fraud.

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