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The Political Economy of Power-Sharing

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

How does power-sharing affect resource allocation between elites and constituencies in post-conflict situations? The question if and how power-sharing arrangements between a state government and former rebel groups actually change the distribution and exercise of political power in a post-conflict situation is rarely investigated.

In this research project, we argue that the type of power-sharing affects sub-national resource allocation patterns. Power-sharing provides an opportunity for former conflict actors to access state resources and distribute those resources strategically to their constituencies. Personalized power-sharing arrangements between political elites facilitate self-enrichment and are therefore hypothesized to result in low levels of resource allocation towards their constituencies. Structural power-sharing institutions, in contrast, facilitate a focused resource allocation to strategically important core constituencies. We also hypothesize that constituency size will moderate the relationship between structural power-sharing and sub-national resource allocation. The expected benefit of such targeted resource allocation will increase with the size of elites’ support bases. We further expect post-conflict resource allocation to vary with type and level of government income. A higher share of non-tax income such as natural resources and specific types of foreign aid is likely to be associated with more pronounced patterns of patronage between elites in power-sharing arrangements and their constituencies. Ultimately, our theory implies that power-sharing is less a tool for transforming political power (and thus addressing the root causes of social conflict), but an instrument that institutionalizes patronage opportunities.

The proposed project relies on the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to substantiate these hypotheses: We first use statistical geo-spatial methods in order to investigate power-sharing as mechanism for sub-national resource redistribution to core constituencies. This analysis will make use of global data on post-conflict situations between 1992 and 2010. Central to this effort will be the creation of a novel dataset, the Geographical Dimensions of Power-Sharing Dataset (GDPS) which geo-locates the constituencies of all government and rebels in post-conflict situations. In a second step, we will conduct qualitative within-case analyses and in-depth process tracing of two post-conflict situations: Liberia and the Indonesian province of Aceh. This qualitative analysis will be based on field research in each post-conflict situation to better understand causal processes and scope conditions.

Publications and Working Papers:

Haass, Felix. “Buying Democracy? The Political Economy of Power-Sharing, Foreign Aid, and Post-Conflict Political Development” Dissertation, University of Greifswald, expected 2017

Haass, Felix; Ottmann, Martin. “Rebels, Revenue, and Redistribution. The Political Geography of Post-Conflict Power-Sharing.” Manuscript

Haass, Felix; Ottmann, Martin. “Profits from Peace. The Political Economy of Power-Sharing and Post-Conflict Corruption.” Manuscript

Haass, Felix; Ottmann, Martin. 2015. Buying Peace? The Political Economy of Power-Sharing. GIGA Focus International, 9.


Externe Projektbearbeiter*innen:
Dr. Martin Ottmann (University of Birmingham); Sian Herbert (University of Birmingham)
2016 - 2019