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Research Seminar: The peace process as a quantitative unit of analysis

March 8, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am


Visiting researcher Yoav Kapshuk (Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee) presents findings from a recent paper co-authored with Yuval Haitman (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev):

The peace process as a quantitative unit of analysis

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Paper Abstract:

Previous quantitative research has examined both the design of peace agreements and assessed which provisions characterize stable ones. However, research on peace agreements as a single unit of analysis misses the connections forged between multiple agreements within a peace process.

Therefore, while recognizing the difficulties in operationally defining the concept of peace process, this project restructures the data from PA-X peace agreements database (version 5) such that the unit of analysis is the peace process instead of the peace agreement. In doing so, we obtain insight into the principles at work when designing peace processes. To this end, we use machine learning methods to assess at what stage and in what order within a negotiation is it desirable to engage in any given principle.

A preliminary examination was conducted on the principles of transitional justice (TJ), an area known to be significant for societies transitioning from conflict to peace. We examined which principles of TJ in partial agreements predict the achievement of a comprehensive agreement and found that out of 10 variables of TJ from the PA-X database, the presence of 1) reconciliation, 2) release of prisoners and 3) mechanisms to deal with the past in intermediate stages of peace processes (i.e., in partial agreements) have the greatest contribution to achieving comprehensive agreements. In contrast, provisions such as vetting, missing, and courts in intermediate stages of peace processes have the lowest contribution to achieving comprehensive agreements; provisions such as amnesty and reparation have medium contribution.

These findings advance our understanding of what key TJ provisions to focus on during negotiations. Future research will use observations of peace processes to examine the importance of other principles: inclusion of groups (such as minorities, women, refugees), provisions for security, provisions for power-sharing, and more.

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March 8, 2023
10:00 am - 11:00 am
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University of Edinburgh