Scholars have spent a great deal of time trying to understand the conditions under which peace can be achieved. However, there is a lack of literature dedicated to understanding the impact of different armed groups on the likelihood of peace. This study aims to understand the impact of death squads on sustainable peace. I hypothesize that the presence of death squads in a civil conflict will decrease civilian trust in institutions and change cultural norms regarding the acceptability of violence. Together, I hypothesize that these factors will decrease the likelihood of sustainable peace. To evaluate these hypotheses, I use a mixed-method approach. I first conduct a logistical regression to evaluate the relationship between death squads and sustainable peace. I then conduct an exploratory case study to look for suggestive evidence for my intervening variables (trust in institutions and norms regarding violence). This study finds preliminary evidence suggesting that death squads have a significant negative impact on sustainable peace and preliminary support for the causal mechanism I proposed.


Leiby, Michele


Political Science

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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