Scientific article

Territorial Autonomy in the Shadow of Conflict: Too Little, Too Late?

Published inThe American political science review, vol. 109, no. 2, p. 354-370
Publication date2015

This paper evaluates the e↵ect of territorial autonomy on the out- break of internal conflict by analyzing ethnic groups around the world since WWII. Shedding new light on an ongoing debate, we argue that the critics have overstated the case against autonomy policies. Our evidence indicates that decentralization has a significant conflict- preventing e↵ect where there is no prior conflict history. In post- conflict settings, however, granting autonomy can still be helpful in combination with central power sharing arrangements. Yet, on its own, post-conflict autonomy concessions may be too little, too late. Accounting for endogeneity, we also instrument for autonomy in post- colonial states by exploiting that French, as opposed to British, colonial rule rarely relied on decentralized governance. This identification strategy suggests that na¨ıve analysis tends to underestimate the pacifying influence of decentralization.

  • Regional autonomy
  • Powersharing
  • Civil war
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - 100017 143213
Citation (ISO format)
CEDERMAN, Lars-Erik et al. Territorial Autonomy in the Shadow of Conflict: Too Little, Too Late? In: The American political science review, 2015, vol. 109, n° 2, p. 354–370. doi: 10.1017/s0003055415000325
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal0003-0554

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