The Stability of Autonomy Arrangements: The Role of External Agents

Co-authored with Pieter van Houten, this paper was presented at the 2008 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), San Francisco, California. It presents a research agenda for analyzing the viability and stability of self-governance regimes and other arrangements to manage or prevent ethnic conflicts. It has two parts, and makes two main arguments. First, it shows that the existing theories (or schools) of institutional design in ethnically divided societies are useful to only a limited extent when addressing these issues and the rich variety of arrangements found in empirical cases, because they place too much emphasis on the nature and coherence of the general, macro-level political structures, and focus too narrowly on certain individual incentives. Second, we outline suggestions for a framework to analyze these individual incentives, which promises to better account for the empirically observed arrangements, and can be a starting point for developing a more comprehensive theory.