Governance and Conflict Relapse

Conference paper

Hegre, Håvard & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2012) Governance and Conflict Relapse, presented at International Studies Association Annual Convention, 1–4 April.

In the last few years policy makers have become increasingly interested in the role of good governance in promoting peace and development. This paper therefore looks at the connection between governance and conflict relapse. We know that most conflicts today are recurring old ones, and understanding the sources of conflict relapse is therefore important both from an academic and from a policy perspective. This paper assesses the links between governance and conflict relapse, and discusses the causes and consequences of the dynamics between conflict, bad governance and conflict recurrence. We investigate a set of indices capturing seven aspects of governance: formal political institutions, political exclusion and repression, the rule of law, corruption, military influence in politics, bureaucratic quality, and economic policies. Countries that have recently experienced conflict, have a higher risk of seeing renewed conflict. We present statistical models that show that the risk of renewed conflict in countries with good governance, drops rapidly after the conflict has ended. In countries characterized by poor governance, this process takes much longer. Hence, improving governance is an important part in reducing the onset and incidence of conflict, and good governance will in turn decrease the likelihood of conflict. In the second (unfinished) part of the paper we discuss how conflict also affects governance.

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