UN Peacekeeping and Democratization in Conflict-Affected Countries
American Political Science Review, Forthcoming
99 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2022
Date Written: June 29, 2022
Does UN peacekeeping promote democracy in countries wracked by civil war? Existing studies are limited and reach contradictory conclusions. We develop a theory to explain how peacekeepers can help overcome key obstacles to democratization in conflict-affected countries, then test our theory by combining three original datasets on UN mandates, personnel, and activities covering all UN missions in Africa since the end of the Cold War. Using fixed effects and instrumental variables estimators, we show that UN missions with democracy promotion mandates are strongly positively correlated with the quality of democracy in host countries, but that the magnitude of the relationship is larger for civilian rather than uniformed personnel; stronger when peacekeepers engage rather than bypass host governments when implementing reforms; driven in particular by UN election administration and oversight; and more robust during periods of peace than during periods of civil war.
Keywords: peacekeeping, peacebuilding, United Nations, statebuilding, civil war, Africa
JEL Classification: F51, F53, F55
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation