The Subtle Micro-Effects of Peacekeeping: Evidence from Liberia

35 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 5 Sep 2010

See all articles by Eric N. Mvukiyehe

Eric N. Mvukiyehe

Columbia University

Cyrus Samii

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: August 29, 2010


We use original survey data and administrative data from post-war Liberia to test a theory of the micro-level impacts of peacekeeping. The theory proposes that through the creation of local security bubbles and also through direct assistance, peacekeeping deployments contribute to economic and social revitalization that may contribute to more durable peace. This theory guides the design of current United Nations peacekeeping operations, and has been proposed as one of the explanations for peacekeeping's well-documented association with more durable peace. We identify local impacts of deployment bases by exploiting the fact that peacekeepers had limited information when selecting base localities, using coarsened exact matching to identify sets of communities that should have been equally likely to receive bases, and then using regression to clean up residual imbalances.

Our evidence paint a complex picture that deviates substantially from the theory. We do not find evidence for local security bubbles around deployment base areas, and we do not find that deployments were substantial contributors to local social infrastructure. In addition, we find a negative relationship between deployment basing locations and NGO contributions to social infrastructure. Nonetheless, we find that deployments do seem to stimulate local markets, leading to better employment possibilities and substantially higher incomes.

The result is something of a puzzle, suggesting that more work needs to be done on other types of direct assistance by peacekeeping contingents - e.g. the impact of mission procurement and routine spending by those associated with the mission. Also, the findings with respect to NGO activities suggest that this is an important factor that past case studies and cross-national studies have not taken into account sufficiently.

Suggested Citation

Mvukiyehe, Eric N. and Samii, Cyrus, The Subtle Micro-Effects of Peacekeeping: Evidence from Liberia (August 29, 2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN:

Eric N. Mvukiyehe (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

Cyrus Samii

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

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