Abstract: What happens to armed organizations after they sign peace accords? Why do they remilitarize or demilitarize? This project provides an explanation for this variation in post-war trajectories based on the geography of recruitment – whether the armed groups recruited locally or non-locally. The theory’s mechanisms center on social networks, principal-agent problems, and information asymmetries. I link these factors to changes in the distribution of power and the likelihood of successful bargaining, resumed violence or consolidated peace. The empirics draw on the comparative laboratory of contemporary Colombia where 37 armed organizations signed peace accords with the government and then diverged in their post-war trajectories: half remilitarized, half demilitarized. Drawing on data from eleven surveys collected over the course of ten years, I analyze how ex-combatants were networked in geographical space over time. I then examine the implications of cohesive or eroded networks on remilitarization using organization-level data derived from intelligence agencies and municipality-level data on 29,000 violent events over the course of 46 years of war. The project then turns to process tracing in various regions of Colombia, employing over 300 in-depth interviews to illustrate the validity of the causal process. The empirics provide strong support for the theory and cast doubt on explanations centered on the political economy of violence and correlates of civil war. The project has important implications for future research on civil wars, intrastate peace processes, and state formation and outlines a series of recommendations for policy.
About the Speaker: Sarah Daly is Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of Notre Dame. Her research interests include civil wars and peace-building, international security, and ethnic politics with a regional focus on Latin America. Her book manuscript, under contract with Cambridge University Press, explores the post-war trajectories of armed organizations. Her other research seeks to explain sub-national variation in insurgency onset, organized crime and state-building, recidivism of ex-combatants during war to peace transitions, state strategies towards ethnic minorities in the former Soviet Union, and the role of emotions in transitional justice regimes. Her research has been published in the Journal of Peace Research, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Conflict, Security & Development, and in several edited volumes. Sarah has conducted field research in Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Brazil, is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has spent time at the World Bank, Organization of American States, and Peace Research Institute of Oslo. She has also served as a fellow in the Political Science Department and at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, at the Saltzman Institute of War & Peace Studies at Columbia University, and at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Her research has been funded by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council, National Science Foundation, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Fulbright Program, United States Institute of Peace, MIT Center for International Studies, and MIT Entrepreneurship Center.