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Balancing Incentives Among Actors: A Carrots and Sticks Approach to Reputation in UN Peacekeeping Missions

  • Sabrina M. Karim (a1)

Extract

As Kristina Daugirdas points out in her article on the role of reputation in international organizations (IOs), peacekeeping operations include a multitude of actors with varying interests. These actors have competing priorities, which forces IOs to balance the needs of the actors involved in peacekeeping missions. Because IOs often depend on member states as implementing agents, this could cause IOs to suppress their own interests in favor of member states, which could ultimately negatively affect the communities in which the peacekeepers operate. This dynamic is present in UN peacekeeping operations. While Daugirdas seeks to align the incentives of the UN and the states that contribute peacekeepers so as to harness reputation as a force to encourage the good behavior of all involved, I argue that this alignment rarely happens because of IOs’ reliance on member states. Through the dynamics of UN peacekeeping operations, I show that the UN reliance on states to provide police officers and troops suppresses the UN's own interests in favor of the contributing states’ interests. I also identify a carrots and sticks approach to balancing incentives. As Paul Stephan does in his essay for this symposium, I draw on a rational-choice, actor-based theory to identify the mixed motives of the various actors who staff and operate peacekeeping missions. The framework proposed here, I contend, provides a way to better understand the sources of the tension that exist when evaluating reputation as a disciplinary tool for IOs.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

References

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1 Kristina Daugirdas, Reputation as a Disciplinarian of International Organizations, 113 AJIL 221 (2019).

2 Id. at 234.

3 Id.

4 Id.

5 Id.

6 What We Do, United Nations.

8 Supply-Side Peacekeeping, Economist (Feb. 21, 2007).

9 Daugirdas, supra note 1, at 246.

10 Timothy J.A. Passmore et al., Rallying the Troops: Collective Action and Self-Interest in UN Peacekeeping Contributions, 55 J. Peace Res. 366 (2017).

11 Lisa Hultman et al., United Nations Peacekeeping and Civilian Protection in Civil War, 57 Am. J. Pol. Sci. 875 (2013).

12 Daugirdas, supra note 1, at 249.

13 Id. at 250.

14 U.S. Ambassador Isobel Coleman, Statement for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Apr. 13, 2016).

15 Ramita Navai & Sam Collyns, UN Sex Abuse Scandal, PBS (Jul. 24, 2018).

19 Owen Bowcott, Report Reveals Shame of UN Peacekeepers: Sexual Abuse by Soldiers “Must Be Punished”, Guardian, (Mar. 25, 2005). Kevin Sieff, U.N. Reports New Rape Accusations Against Peacekeepers, Wash. Post (Feb. 5, 2016); Ramesh Thakur, When the Peacekeepers Become the Problem, Globe & Mail (May 21, 2007).

20 Equal Opportunity, supra note 16.

21 Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Conduct in UN Field Missions.

22 Id.

24 Khusrav Gaibulloev et al., Personnel Contributions to UN and Non-UN Peacekeeping Missions: A Public Goods Approach, 52 J. Peace Res. 727, 740 (2015). That is, payment to states for contributions is fixed (the base rate is US$1,028 per month for each peacekeeper), which means that some states profit from sending contributions while other states, usually richer ones, incur losses. See also Katharina P. Coleman, The Political Economy of UN Peacekeeping: Incentivizing Effective Participation, Providing for Peacekeeping, Int'l Peace Institute (2014).

25 Air Cdre (Retd) Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhurry, Trends and Imperatives, Daily Star (June 13, 2013).

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