Self-Rule and Intrastate Conflict Risk in Divided Societies: A Configurational Analysis of Consociational Institutions

Scholars debate whether self-rule is conducive to intrastate violence or peace. We argue that to resolve this problem the entire institutional setup of the state must be taken into account. Whereas the centripetalist view deemphasizes self-rule as a vehicle of interethnic competition, consociationalism holds that it is the interplay of accommodative institutions, with segmental autonomy among them, that promotes intrastate peace. We test the rivaling expectations on a set of 556 subnational cases in 21 culturally fractionalized post-war anocracies. We conduct a configurational risk analysis, which allows us to study self-rule and conflict risk under various institutional arrangements. We find that the full consociational ‘package’ is indeed associated with a reduction of intrastate conflict risk. However, majoritarian configurations are equally associated with a risk reduction. In contrast, models that include self-rule alone, or in combination with few other consociational elements, are consistently associated with an increase of conflict risk.