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The Effect of Changing Conditions and Agreement Provisions on Conflict and Renegotiation Between States with Competing Claims

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  • Author’s note: Previous versions of this paper were presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, San Diego, California, March 22–25, 2006, the Shambaugh Conference “Building Synergies: Institutions and Cooperation in World Politics,” Iowa City, Iowa, October 12–15, 2006, and the annual meeting of the Peace Science Society, Columbus, Ohio, November 10–12, 2006. I would like to thank Ashley Leeds, Cliff Morgan, Randy Stevenson, Burcu Savun, Greg Vonnahme, the participants of the 2006 Shambaugh Conference, as well as the ISQ editors and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Replication data and command files are available via the Dataverse Network Project (http://dvn.iq.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/isq) and the ISA data archive page (http://www.isanet.org/data_archive/).

Abstract

Can agreements that states sign in order to manage competing claims help ensure a durable peace? This article examines the effect of “conciliatory agreements” that include attempts to address differences after significant conflict has occurred, such as peace agreements, as well as agreements designed to manage competing claims before they reach the level of violence. I argue that provisions specified in conciliatory agreements make the existing peaceful equilibrium more robust against the potentially disruptive effect of shocks, such as changes in relative capabilities or regime type. Conciliatory agreements not only increase the likelihood that peace is maintained but also impact the kind of peace maintained. Specifically, competing states may remain at peace either because they retain the status quo or because they peacefully renegotiate. Varying agreement provisions can account for why some states resort to force, while others peacefully renegotiate. I test the propositions concerning the effect of shocks and agreement provisions on the durability of peace and the likelihood of renegotiation using cases of territorial claims.

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