The inclusion of conflict parties in independent commissions through power-sharing has been found to reduce the reoccurrence of conflict. Yet, the theoretical and empirical literature explaining why independent commissions include power-sharing is very limited. Previous publications have focused on in-depth case studies that explain how power-sharing prevents conflict recurrence in specific post-conflict societies but do not provide a general argument or widescale testing beyond individual case studies. This article provides a new systematic, general theoretical argument and novel empirical testing that explains why there is power-sharing on some commissions but not others. We argue that conflict parties adopt power-sharing provisions in independent commissions because doing so allows them to overcome significant credible commitments problems that are inherent to the ending of intrastate conflict. Using a new and comprehensive dataset, Independent Commissions in Post-Conflict Societies, which includes information on 580 commissions (1990–2016), this article applies a combination of decision trees and regression analysis to test our hypotheses. The findings indicate that power-sharing is adopted where credible commitment problems are acute and show that commissions working on political or security issues and those with monitoring or verification roles, or that work on the implementation of peace agreements, are more likely to include power-sharing arrangements.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.