Abstract

Since 1990, negotiated settlements have become the preferred means for settling civil wars. Historically, however, these types of settlements have proven largely ineffective: civil wars ended by negotiated settlement are more likely to recur than those ending in victory by one side or the other. A theoretical and statistical analysis of how civil wars end reveals that the type of ending influences the prospects for longer-term outcomes. An examination of all civil war endings since 1940 finds that rebel victories are more likely to secure the peace than are negotiated settlements. A statistical analysis of civil wars from 1940 to 2002 and the case of Uganda illustrate why rebel victories result in more stable outcomes. Expanding scholarly and policy analysis of civil war termination types beyond the current default of negotiated settlement to include victories provides a much larger set of cases and variables to draw upon to enhance understanding of the conditions most likely to support long-term stability, democracy, and prosperity.

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