Speaker: Aila M. Matanock, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

Settlements to civil conflict, which are notably difficult to secure, sometimes contain clauses enabling the combatant sides to participate as political parties in post-conflict elections. In this seminar, the speaker will discuss some of her research suggesting that electoral participation provisions allowing rebel parties helps secure peace between combatants. These results challenge prevailing pessimism about post-conflict elections and also point to a broader conception of international intervention than currently exists, identifying how these elections can enable external enforcement mechanisms without military coercion by peacekeeping troops in many cases. The speaker will then turn to new work showing, however, that these concessions are unpopular with voters. Engaging the electoral process can open the peace process to the population at large, potentially derailing the deal or aspects of it. Using evidence from a survey experiment in Colombia, the speaker shows what may be one dimension of a stability-democracy tradeoff inherent in post-conflict elections.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

For more information, email the International Security Program Assistant at susan_lynch@harvard.edu.