Negotiating with Rebels: The Effect of Rebel Service Provision on Conflict Negotiations

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Publication Year: 
2015
Citation Information: 
forthcoming Journal of Conflict Resolution
Abstract: 

When rebels provide social services, do they have more leverage negotiating the terms of a peace deal? The literature suggests service-providing groups may, on average, have a wider base of support and a more centralized organizational structure. We argue that these features deter potential spoilers from breaking away from the organization during negotiation processes. This, in turn, makes governments more willing to enter negotiations since the threat from spoilers is smaller. Thus, compared to non-providers, service-providing rebels are more likely to engage in negotiations and these processes are likely to be more stable. This article analyzes these propositions by gathering service provision data on nearly 400 rebel groups and their involvement in and behavior during peace talks. It also serves as an introduction to a larger project about the implications of rebel service provision on conflict outcomes.