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V-Dem Seminar with Hanne Fjelde

Research profile seminar

At the V-Dem Seminar Hanne Fjelde will present the paper "Which institutions matter? Toward a Liberal Democratic Civil Peace".


Democratic political regimes are widely regarded to have a lower risk of civil war than autocratic ones. However, the arguments put forward for this expectation relate to very different theoretical mechanisms that pertain to quite different `democratic institutions´. Extant empirical studies often fail to make such distinctions, using composite indices that aggregate various institutional dimensions into a single measure of a polity's `democraticness´. We un-bundle the impact of various institutions associated with `democracy´ theoretically and empirically. We focus on the ability of the regime to make credible promises to three stylized actors that may challenge the regime militarily: (1) non-incumbent elites, (2) broad segments of the citizenry, and (3) minority groups. We focus on how and which institutions allow the incumbent regime to solve horizontal commitment problems between incumbent and non-incumbent elite groups and/or vertical commitment problems between incumbent elites and social groups excluded from power. Using a set of precise institutional indicators from the V-Dem dataset, we show that only institutions associated with `liberal´ or horizontal-accountability aspects of democracy are robustly associated with a lower probability of civil war onset. Institutions that ensure vertical accountability, such as free and fair elections with extensive franchise rights, are not linked to civil peace in and of themselves.


Hanne Fjelde is an Associate Professor at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University and a Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute in Oslo. Her research focuses on the relationship between political institutions and armed conflict, the causes and consequences of electoral violence, and on the underpinnings of regime stability in authoritarian regimes.

Date: 12/20/2017

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Categories: Social Sciences

Organizer: Department of Political Science

Location: B336, Stora Skansen

Contact person: Natalia Stepanova

Page Manager: Lars-Olof Karlsson|Last update: 3/3/2008

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