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Peace Studies Speaker Series
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Aila Matanock
"Electing Peace: From Civil Conflict to Political Participation"
Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 03:30pm - 05:00pm
Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43201

Aila Matanock

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Aila M. Matanock is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California-Berkeley. Her research addresses the ways in which international actors engage in conflicted and weak states. She uses case studies, survey experiments, and cross-national data in this work.

Matanock has conducted fieldwork in Colombia, Central America, Melanesia, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere. She has received funding for these projects from many sources, including the National Science Foundation, the Minerva Research Initiative, the National Center for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism, and the Center for Global Development.

Her 2017 book, Electing Peace: From Civil Conflict to Political Participation, was published by Cambridge University Press. It won the 2018 Charles H. Levine Memorial Book Prize and was a runner up for the 2018 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize. It is based on her dissertation research at Stanford University, which won the 2013 Helen Dwight Reid award from the American Political Science Association.

Matanock's work has also been published by the Annual Review of Political Science, Governance, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, and elsewhere. She worked at the RAND Corporation before graduate school, and she has held fellowships at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at UCSD since.

Matanock received her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and her A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard University.


Settlements to civil conflict, which are notably difficult to secure, sometimes contain clauses enabling the combatant sides to participate as political parties in post-conflict elections. In Electing Peace, Aila M. Matanock presents a theory that explains both the causes and the consequences of these provisions. Matanock draws on new worldwide cross-national data on electoral participation provisions, case studies in Central America, and interviews with representatives of all sides of the conflicts. She shows that electoral participation provisions, non-existent during the Cold War, are now in almost half of all peace agreements. Moreover, she demonstrates that these provisions are associated with an increase in the chance that peace will endure, potentially contributing to a global decline in civil conflict, a result which challenges prevailing pessimism about post-conflict elections. Matanock's theory and evidence also suggest a broader conception of international intervention than currently exists, identifying how these inclusive elections can enable external enforcement mechanisms and provide an alternative to military coercion by peacekeeping troops in many cases.


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