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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: February 2021

7 - A Theory of Borders and Rivalry Termination

from Part III - Borders and Rivalry Termination


Chapter 7 evaluates rivalry termination expectations. The rivalry process helps states overcome the commitment problem but not necessary through war, as traditionally expected. States instead use the rivalry process to consolidate power so as to disincentivize the revision of an eventual agreement. Given the difficulties of overcoming the commitment problem, we would expect these rivalries to be of longer duration and more violence prone. We derive a series of predictions from this argument. Conflict management techniques should be somewhat effective at helping rivals resolve border disagreements within rivalry but only in the absence of power endowments. The exception is legalized dispute resolution techniques, which may have features that help states overcome commitment problems. Border settlement within rivalry will facilitate rivalry termination but rival states bargaining over territorial borders that contain power endowments will be less likely to terminate. Relations between these rivals will generally improve after border settlement. We also derive hypotheses based whether the neighbors are democracies, share an alliance, power relations, and presence of ethnic kin.

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