Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Frederic S. Pearson


Since the end of Cold War, more civil conflicts have been settled by negotiated settlements, as compared to previous eras. While the extant literature has offered various explanations of this trend by examining the costs and types of war, scholars’ primary focus has been on researching the determinants of conflict resolution. Yet, what brings the parties of civil conflicts to the negotiation table in the first place has remained largely unexplored. In particular, previous scholarship has failed to grasp negotiation as a process and costly choice in itself. This dissertation lays out the conditions paving the way for negotiations in civil conflicts, by offering a better understanding of the costs and benefits of negotiations to the parties. By rejecting the assumption from the previous literature that negotiation is a costless choice, this dissertation explains how the leaders of both government and insurgent groups perceive the negotiation process as the cost-benefit calculus. The study relies on a logistic regression analysis of the occurrence of negotiations in civil conflicts that occurred during 1989 - 2008, as well as four case studies, including conflicts between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People`s Liberation Movement / Army (SPLM/A); the Indian Government and the Kashmir Insurgency; the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC); the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Both quantitative and qualitative analyses support the argument that negotiations are a risky choice and they bare some costs and benefits to the parties in civil conflicts. Accordingly, the negotiation calculation includes the assessment of prospective gains and losses in terms of parties’ reputation, legitimacy, and status quo. Among others, the study found strong support for the role of third parties in predicting the negotiation likelihood. The dissertation presents a coherent theoretical framework that offers novel ways of conceptualizing the negotiation process. It also offers substantive recommendations for future research, to further improve scholarly understanding of the costs and benefits of negotiations in civil conflicts.