In the absence of power-sharing, minority groups in opposition have powerful incentives to substitute the ballot with the bullet. In contrast, when power is shared among all major groups in society, the relative gains of sticking to electoral politics are larger for minority groups. After making the theoretical argument, we provide in the current paper an empirical analysis of the impact of power-sharing at the local level, making use of fine-grained data from Northern Ireland's 26 local district councils over the 1973-2001 period. We find that power-sharing has a sizable and robust conflict-reducing impact.

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