Democratization after Civil War: A Brush-Clearing Exercise Academic Article uri icon


  • Why do some states emerging from civil war take significant strides toward democracy while others do not? The existing literature comes to contradictory and puzzling findings, many of which, we argue, are driven by methodological problems. We examine the determinants of democratization in the short, medium, and long term after civil wars ending between 1945 and 1999. Other than a short-term effect of negotiated settlements, we find little support for the prominent claim that the outcome of the war shapes the prospects for postwar democratization. Neither does peacekeeping foster democratization. Meanwhile, consistent with the more general democratization literature, we find that economic development aids democratization while oil wealth hinders it. In short, we find the determinants of democratization to be much the same for post-civil war societies as for other societies. 2012 International Studies Association.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 12.13

author list (cited authors)

  • Fortna, V. P., & Huang, R.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Fortna, Virginia Page||Huang, Reyko

publication date

  • December 2012