Protecting the vote? Peacekeeping presence and the risk of electoral violence

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See all articles by Hanne Fjelde

Hanne Fjelde

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)

Hannah Smidt

University of Zurich; University of Zurich, Institute for Political Science, Students

Date Written: May 3, 2020

Abstract

Democracy assistance, including efforts to promote electoral security, is often a central component of the peace-building activities that multidimensional peacekeeping forces are set to do. Preventing the escalation of violence during post-conflict elections is critical for the war-to-democracy transition, yet we know little about the role of peacekeepers in this effort. Addressing this gap, this paper examines the role of United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in promoting electoral security. We provide the first comprehensive sub-national study of peacekeeping effectiveness in reducing the risk of electoral violence in post-conflict electoral periods. We combine geo-referenced data on peacekeeping deployment across all multidimensional peacekeeping missions in Africa over the past two decades with similarly fine-grained data on the incidence of electoral violence. Multiple identification strategies, including two-way fixed effects and instrumental variable models, help support the causal interpretation of the results showing that increasing the number of peacekeepers reduces the risk of electoral violence.

Keywords: electoral violence, peacekeeping, military deployment, democratization, post-war

Suggested Citation

Fjelde, Hanne and Smidt, Hannah, Protecting the vote? Peacekeeping presence and the risk of electoral violence (May 3, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Hanne Fjelde

International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) ( email )

Oslo
N-0260 Oslo
Norway

Hannah Smidt (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

University of Zurich, Institute for Political Science, Students ( email )

Seilergraben 49
CH-8001 Zurich
Switzerland

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