Rushing to the Polls: The Causes of Premature Postconflict Elections

In the post—cold war period, civil wars are increasingly likely to end with peace settlements brokered by international actors who press for early elections. However, elections held soon after wars end, when political institutions remain weak, are associated with an increased likelihood of a return to violence. International actors have a double-edged influence over election timing and the risk of war, often promoting precarious military stalemates and early elections but sometimes also working to prevent a return to war through peacekeeping, institution building, and powersharing. In this article, we develop and test quantitatively a model of the causes of early elections as a building block in evaluating the larger effect of election timing on the return to war.