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The Equifinality of War Termination: Multiple Paths to Ending War

Elizabeth A. Stanley and John P. Sawyer. "The Equifinality of War Termination: Multiple Paths to Ending War." Journal of Conflict Resolution 53.5 (2009): 651-676.

Our theory contributes an alternative domestic politics pathway to traditional bargaining models of war termination. In bargaining models, the rational updating process that produces an overlapping bargaining space can develop a significant lag that extends the war beyond a logical ending point. We posit that a change in the domestic governing coalition is often necessary to kick-start this updating process once it has become bogged down through preference, information, and entrapment obstacles. We demonstrate that domestic coalition shifts are a critical path to peace, using survival analysis techniques on Bennett and Stam’s (1996) war-level dataset of wars (1862-1990) and a new belligerent-level dataset of wars (1945-2006). These tests show that because war policies can become institutionalized over time, there is a very strong link between coalition shifts and war termination.

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