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Dr Martin Ottmann, Associate Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies (IDD), has – together with his co-author, Felix Haass – won the 2019-2020 Quality of Government (QoG) Best Paper Award for their paper, “The Effect of Wartime Legacies on Electoral Mobilization after Civil War”. The prize includes an award of €400 and a visit to the Quality of Governance Institute (University of Gothenburg) for a week as guest scholars to present the paper. 

In the paper, the authors advance a theory of how civil war legacies relate to post conflict electoral mobilization drawing on novel datasets focusing on the first post-conflict elections in the Indonesian province of Aceh in 2006. They argue theoretically, and demonstrate empirically, that war-time civilian-insurgent linkages are transformed into peace time clientelistic exchanges. Organizational capacities established during the war serve as networks, they suggest, that distribute targeted benefits and monitor compliance. After the conflict’s end, rebel leaders running for office are effectively using their former military organizations to develop party structures and mobilize voters at the local level. Discretionary control over resources (‘peace dividends’) during democratization, is the ‘currency’ through which those linkages are developed and sustained. 

The QoG Committee praised the “level of sophistication, creativity and due diligence of the empirical design” in the paper, noting that the work “carries important implications for research on aid allocation and control in post conflict and low QoG societies.” Through this contribution, they noted, "Haass and Ottmann further our understanding about the factors that can potentially lock societies into vicious cycles that ensure the persistence of suboptimal governance outcomes even after democracy takes hold.”