Stephen E Gent
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Does power sharing lead to peace? Utilizing an impressive combination of new data and a range of cutting-edge methods, Cederman, Hug & Wucherphennig provide a good deal of evidence that governmental and territorial power-sharing practices reduce the likelihood of civil war. The authors propose two causal mechanisms to explain this relationship: a grievance-reducing logic and a confidence-building logic. Their research design aims to address several weaknesses in the existing literature. First, rather than focusing on the role of formal institutions, they examine the effect of actual power-sharing practices on conflict. Second, they explore the role of power-sharing practices in both the pre-conflict and post-conflict periods. Third, rather than treating power-sharing institutions as exogenous, they implement methods that endogenize the choice to implement power sharing. Finally, they consider the interaction effect between governmental and territorial power sharing. Overall, the book provides a comprehensive examination of the authors’ research question. Part I provides an excellent literature review and an overview of the authors’ hypothesis. The six chapters of Part II, which form the core of the book, employ a wide range of empirical methods to identify the effect of both governmental and territorial power sharing on civil war. Part III takes a step back, exploring diffusion of power sharing across space and variation in the effect of power sharing on conflict over time. While much of the empirical analysis draws upon previously published studies, the book nicely puts all the pieces from this long-running research program together in one place to make an effective case for the positive effects of power sharing.