Integrated Militias Can Increase the Risk of Civil War Renewal

Abstract

Research on civil war identified multiple reason for why some transitions to peace are more robust
than others. However, scholars largely ignored a key determinant of successful peace: the role of
pro-government militias and their absorption into the new or recovering state. Using new data on
160 pro-government organizations (PGOs) in 144 post-civil-war contexts, we show that
integrating PGOs into the security apparatus significantly shifts the hazard of conflict renewal over
time upward, while integrating them into the government decreases said risk. Substantively, by
year 12, security-integrated contexts are at a staggering 45% higher risk of experiencing conflict
renewal compared with non-security integrated contexts, while politically integrated contexts are
at a 21% lower risk of experiencing conflict renewal compared with non-politically integrated
contexts. Disaggregating renewal by context, we additionally find that the adverse impact of
security integration is especially acute in government victory and bargained outcome contexts; in
contrast, rebel victory contexts show no effect of security integration, but a negative and statistical
impact of political integration on the hazard of renewal. We conclude with a brief discussion of
the implications for research and policymaking.

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