Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Cecil V. Crabb, Jr


Rationalist theories of coalition formation have centered on one and only one principle: that individual conduct is totally determined by the endeavor to relate means to ends as efficiently as possible. Specifically, the theory holds that human conduct is wholly determined by rationality. Rationalist political theory is extremely useful for gaining insight into the field of coalition formation and maintenance. Work on coalitions often in turn derives from n-person game theory. It has attempted to predict the formation of coalitions, distribution of spoils, and the allocation of power among major social groups in divided societies. Rational choice theory suggests that decision makers consider the costs and benefits associated with alternative actions when deciding what to do. According to this approach, it is plausible that factional groups in divided societies consider the benefits and costs when deciding whether to form and whether to maintain a coalition. This dissertation presents an examination of coalition theory, by presenting a case study of the Lebanese Forces during the Lebanese civil war, which began in the mid-1970s. Interviews with representatives of the Lebanese Forces have been conducted and analyzed. These and other data were used to demonstrate the applicability of the rational choice model to the case of the Lebanese Forces.