Leadership changes and civil war agreements: Exploring preliminary links

Carmela Lutmar, Lesley Terris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emergence of civil wars as the predominant type of conflict in the twenty-first century has prompted scholars to reformulate and revisit many of the questions treated in the interstate conflict literature. One of these questions concerns the impact of leadership changes on policy decisions within the realm of war and peace. Studies have suggested that in interstate disputes, the coming to power of new leaders in one or both of the disputing governments increases the prospects of war termination. We argue that within the context of intrastate disputes this relationship is more complex and multilayered due to factors that are characteristic of rebel groups and civil wars. We suggest that leader overturns in rebel groups are likely to lead, under certain conditions to more, rather than less, hardline conflict positions, at least in the short term, thus hindering possible negotiation processes. We test our hypothesis on a dataset of leadership changes and agreements ending civil wars in Africa, 1975-2007.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)439-448
Number of pages10
JournalPeace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Africa
  • Civil wars
  • Leadership change

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Sociology and Political Science


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