Recognition Matters! UN State Status and Attitudes toward Territorial Compromise

Nadav G. Shelef, Yael Zeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Does international recognition of statehood affect support for territorial compromise among groups engaged in struggles for self-determination? We show that, contrary to skepticism about the impact of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), international recognition of statehood by the UNGA shapes mass attitudes toward territorial compromise. The impact of international recognition, however, is two-pronged. International recognition simultaneously increases support for partition as a strategy of conflict resolution and decreases support for compromise on the territorial terms of partition. We also suggest a logic to explain these impacts of international recognition based on the intuition that international recognition should improve the bargaining position of the newly recognized group. We demonstrate that international recognition has an impact on mass attitudes of groups in conflict using a combination of a panel survey and survey experiment assessing the impact of the 2012 UNGA recognition of Palestine. This study is the first to show that international recognition can shape mass attitudes toward conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-563
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Israeli–Palestinian conflict
  • conflict resolution
  • international cooperation
  • international institutions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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