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A latent variable approach to measuring and explaining peace agreement strength

Rob Williams, Daniel J. Gustafson, Stephen E. Gent and Mark J. C. Crescenzi

Political Science Research and Methods, 2021, vol. 9, issue 1, 89-105

Abstract: Much of the peace agreement durability literature assumes that stronger peace agreements are more likely to survive the trials of the post-conflict environment. This work does an excellent job identifying which provisions indicate that agreements are more likely to endure. However, there is no widely accepted way to directly measure the strength of agreements, and existing measures suffer from a lack of nuance or reliance on subjective weighting. We use a Bayesian item response theory model to develop a principled measure of the latent strength of peace agreements in civil conflicts from 1975 to 2005. We illustrate the measure's utility by exploring how various international factors such as sanctions and mediation contribute to the strength or weakness of agreements.

Date: 2021
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