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The Promise of Peacekeeping: Protecting Civilians in Civil Wars

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2020

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Do peacekeepers protect civilians in civil conflict? Securing civilian safety is a key objective of contemporary peacekeeping missions, yet whether these efforts actually make a difference on the ground is widely debated in large part because of intractable endogeneity concerns and selection bias. To overcome these issues, we use an instrumental variables design, leveraging exogenous variation in the rotation of African members of the United Nations Security Council and looking at its effects on African civil wars. We show that states that wield more power send more peacekeepers to their preferred locations, and that these peacekeepers in turn help to protect civilians. We thus demonstrate the robustness of many existing results to a plausible identification strategy and present a method that can also be applied to other diverse settings in international relations.

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Copyright © The IO Foundation 2020

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