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Sharing Power, Securing Peace? Ethnic Inclusion and Civil War, Lars-Erik Cederman, Simon Hug and Julian Wucherpfennig

Reviewed by Holley E. Hansen
 

Over the last few decades, countries at risk of civil war are frequently encouraged to adopt policies promoting government powersharing and ethnic group inclusion—policies that are not without their critics in the academic and policy fields. In Sharing Power, Securing Peace? Cederman, Hug, and Wucherpfennig dive into this debate and examine whether powersharing helps reduce conflict or whether it hardens divides and lays the foundation for future wars. An impressive expansion of the authors’ previous work, this book offers a thorough and ultimately optimistic defense of powersharing as a solution.

After a brief introduction detailing the methodological challenges of testing their hypotheses, Cederman et al. begin the first part of the book briefly summarizing the powersharing debate. To be clear, this is a very basic overview of an extensive literature, and some of the nuances of the criticisms (particularly the centripetal approach) are glossed over. This discussion is sufficient to meet the authors’ goals, however, which is to provide a basic framework for their operationalization and establish the main arguments they empirically test in later chapters. Cederman et al. add their own critique, that previous work has focused on whether states have adopted formal powersharing institutions (e.g., rules requiring grand coalition governme

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