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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1998, Vol. 1 No. 2 .


The Price of Peace
Edited by David Cortright

(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998)
52.00; ISBN 0-8476-8556-X; 52.00.
pb.: 19.95; ISBN 0-8476-8557-8-8.



This edited volume is one of the products of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict. It explores the use of incentives as foreign policy tools, particularly as carrots used to encourage states to make changes in their domestic or foreign policies. The term 'incentives' is intended to include granting foreign aid, reducing tariffs, extending security assurances, lifting negative sanctions, and so forth. The book focuses on three issue areas, nuclear proliferation, regional conflict resolution, and multilateral conflict resolution. It includes chapters on conflicts in the Korean Peninsula, the Baltic States, South Asia, Bosnia, El Salvador, and South Africa, as well as general chapters on trade and technology incentives and international financial institutions. Ethnic conflict is not the focus here, though it gets touched on secondarily in some of the case studies. The authors of the individual chapters include both academics and policy analysts.

The contributions to the volume nicely demonstrate that the effectiveness of incentives is likely to vary, depending on the particular circumstances in which they are applied. In their examinations of specific applications of incentives, some authors found incentives to be unsuccessful, some found incentives to work under certain conditions (such as mixing them with sanctions), while others, such as David Cortright and Amitabh Mattoo writing with regard to South Asia, argue unequivocally that, 'carrots will work better than sticks' (p. 126). The generally measured take on the effectiveness of incentives and appreciation for the complexity of certain environments is more persuasive and appealing then the optimistic pro-incentives perspective of the concluding chapter. Though no unified model of incentives or single set of criteria for the effective use of incentives emerges, policy-makers will benefit from some of the insights generated by the array of case studies.


Dan Reiter, Emory University



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