Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Vaughn Shannon (Committee Chair), Liam Anderson (Committee Member), Carlos Costa (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Separatist polities that have managed to break away from their parent states and meet the basic criteria for statehood seek other states’ formal recognition to achieve full statehood and membership of the international society. There is no established pattern to explain external recognition of statehood empirically and theoretically. Kosovo declared independence and attained widespread recognition while Somaliland, despite successful separation from Somalia, has not. What factors explain states’ recognition decisions, or the selective conferring of recognition? The existing literature indicates that national interests, domestic politics, systematic level factors, international legal and normative standards, regime type, and identity politics shape recognition decisions. This thesis attempted to enhance the literature by focusing on less-explored factors through a Large-N cross-national quantitative analysis of ten cases. This study argues that when all other potential explanations are constant or absent, susceptibility of states to domestic separatism, regime type, and religious affinities influence states’ recognition decisions.

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Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.