Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Rani Mullen

Committee Members

Tun-Jen Cheng

Lina Kassem

Philip Roessler


This paper seeks to explain the divergent outcomes of the insurgencies in the Indian Northeast, namely those of Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram. It proposes a rational actor model for peace processes to explain the variation in outcomes of the conflicts in the three states, in which peace processes can succeed (as with Mizoram), fail and continue (as with Nagaland), and not occur (as with predominantly Meitei Valley-Based Insurgent Groups). Drawing inspiration from Acemoglu and Robinson’s (2006, 23-26) theory of democratization, I propose a model in which states and insurgent groups bargain to trade de jure power for de facto power. In this model the government offers insurgent organization increased autonomy and, crucially, a path to leadership in regional governments. In exchange the rebels surrender their de jure power by laying down their weapons, restoring to the state its monopoly on violence. In this paper, de facto power is defined as violent power held independently and wielded autonomously of any other organization, while de jure power is all power and authority exercised from within a government’s legal framework. States benefit from peace processes by restoring their monopoly on the use of force, while the now former rebels receive more secure and lasting opportunities to effect the interests of their communities and themselves. Although not applicable to all peace negotiations, in particular those between states or those in which the state is willing to countenance the independence or cession of its territory, this model has broader theoretical implications beyond its three cases which are examined in relation to several other insurgencies.

Practical policy implications of this theory include that, as a general rule, it is the state, not the rebel faction, that typically the party derails or prevents peace processes.

Available for download on Monday, May 13, 2024

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