Recent research shows that comprehensive peace agreements (CPAs) are effective in ending civil wars and improving post-conflict conditions, but CPAs emerge in only a fraction of civil wars. This study provides systematic evidence about the origins of CPAs and the role of international actors in facilitating their signing. We argue that mediation is more likely to be successful and that CPAs are more likely to emerge in those civil war countries that are members in a higher number of IGOs with high economic leverage. Using their financial and institutional leverage, these IGOs can help the combatants overcome the credible commitment problems associated with entering into mediation, and with making sufficient concessions and compromises to reach and sign a CPA. Analyzing all intrastate armed conflicts from 1989 to 2011, we find that a conflict country’s memberships in IGOs with high economic leverage increase the odds of (1) mediation occurring and (2) mediation subsequently leading to the signing of CPAs. This finding is robust to common sources of spurious relationships between international institutions and the behavior of conflict parties. Participating in IGOs with high economic leverage carries important positive consequences for civil war management and enhances the impact of mediation on getting conflict parties to sign CPAs.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.