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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Leadership change and the power of domestic audiences: a game theoretic account of escalation and de-escalation in civil conflicts
Authors:Chacha, Mwita
Horne, Cale
Periodical:African security (ISSN 1939-2214)
Geographic terms:Angola
South Africa
civil wars
political violence
Abstract:While changes in leadership appear to affect the conflictual or cooperative character of government-dissident relations, and the study of leadership has been a cornerstone of social science from Weber to Neustadt, studies of civil conflict leave the issue of leadership largely unexplored. This article represents a first effort to develop a theory of leadership change in the unique context of violent intrastate politics. Specifically, with respect to civil conflict, how do changes in leadership affect the choices made by dissident groups and the governments they confront? Can changes in leadership help explain the often unpredicted conflictual and cooperative directions that civil conflicts take? Using formal modeling, this article specifies conditions under which leadership changes may affect the course of a civil conflict. Under certain conditions, changes in leadership will signal a desire for cooperation and prompt opposing leaders to reorient their own domestic audiences in order to reciprocate. This argument is empirically examined through case-study plausibility probes (Case study 1: Government leadership change and the end of apartheid in South Africa; Case study 2: Rebel leadership change and the end of the civil war in Angola). Policy implications include an improved understanding of the mechanisms directing political dissent and dissident choices and, in so doing, pointing to means of resolving or preventing large-scale political violence within states. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]