The Charles H. Levine Memorial Book Prize 2018 goes to "Electing Peace. From Civil Conflict to Political Participation" by Aila M. Matanock - Congratulations!
The Award Committee has selected “Electing Peace. From Civil Conflict to Political Participation” by Aila M. Matanock as the 2018 recipient of the Levine Award. The book studies settlements to civil conflicts and more particularly electoral participation provisions. Specifically it asks: what are the causes and consequences of clauses enabling the combatant side to participate as political parties in post-conflict elections? With almost every second election on the globe taking place in the shadow of violent conflict and settlements tending to fail, giving way to additional fighting, this is a highly relevant question. On the basis of a strong theoretical argument and an impressive and stringently comparative research design, the book shows electoral participation provisions are associated with an 80% increase in the chance that peace will endure.
Matanock provides a theoretically compelling and analytically sharp argument of how establishing former rebel groups as political parties engages international actors to monitor and incentivise compliance which in turn produce more enduring peace. In doing so, she not only masterly interweaves election studies with comparative politics, international relations, public policy and governance insights in a bargaining model of how external actors change the cost calculation of noncompliance by former combatant groups. She also confronts the dominant view that post-conflict elections on the whole do not cater to durable peace with a more nuanced and optimistic explanation. Beyond the theoretical advances made, this book has enormously practical implications for policy makers about how to construct post conflict settlement agreements.
Clarity of the argument is met by an excellent research strategy and design. Statistical evidence on the basis of newly collected cross-national data on 122 peace agreements and 388 civil conflicts is combined with in depth cases studies to understand the underlying mechanisms. Within case comparison over time is matched by analysis of typical cases in Central America and outlier cases across the globe. The material is innovative as well as balanced, including interviews with representatives of all sides of the conflicts (including former combatant leaders) – and compiled into a fasinating read for both scholars and practitioners.
This is an highly important, theoretically stong, truly comparative and masterfully executed book which the award committee is pleased to cite for this year’s Levine Prize.
Each year, the International Political Science Association’s Research Committee on the Structure of Governance sponsors the Levine Prize. It is named in honour of Charles H. Levine, who was a distinguished member of the Research Committee and served on the editorial board of its official journal, Governance. The prize is awarded on the recommendation of a distinguished committee. This year’s committee was composed of Professors Claire A. Dunlop (University of Exeter, UK), Miriam Hartlapp (Freie Universität Berlin, Germany) and Linda White (University of Toronto, Canada).