Chapter

Introduction

Dawn Brancati

in Peace by Design

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199549009
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720307 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549009.003.0001
 Introduction

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Why does decentralization reduce ethnic conflict and secessionism more in some countries than in others? This question constitutes the central focus of this book. After presenting the puzzle, the book defines political decentralization and lays out the debate between scholars, who argue that decentralization intensifies intrastate conflict, and policy‐makers, who argue that decentralization reduces it. The chapter previews the book's argument, which is that the effect of decentralization hinges on the electoral strength of regional parties. Subsequently, the book describes its methodological approach, consisting of three carefully selected cases studies — Czechoslovakia (1989–93), Spain (1976–present), and India (1947–present) — and a statistical analysis examining the effect on decentralization and regional parties on intrastate conflict, and decentralization, in turn, on regional parties.

Keywords: decentralization; intrastate conflict; regional parties; Czechoslovakia; Spain; India

Chapter.  8709 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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