The Political Economy of Power–Sharing

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    The paper analyses why office-motivated political rivals may agree to cease conflict to control the government and share power on the basis of an election outcome under proportional representation. As the outcomes of conflict and elections are uncertain, for each rational player the choice depends on which setting secures the highest expected net payoff. Adopting the methodology of the economics of conflict, I show that the factors of crucial importance are attitudes to risk, the comparative effectiveness of the adversaries in contesting election relative to a war, the size of the benefits from office, how the benefits are shared in a power-sharing agreement, and the proportion of the benefits destroyed by fighting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)328-342
    JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2011


    • Power-sharing
    • consociational theory
    • post-civil-war democratisation
    • non-majoritarian institutions
    • proportional representation
    • risk aversion
    • split-the-surplus formula


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