How Does International Intervention Work? Mechanisms for Securing Peace Settlements in Civil Conflicts (Departmental Seminar Series)

19 April 2017

Aila Matanock , University of California

Government, Department of

Time: 14:00
Venue: TC 2.12/2.13, Colchester Campus

There is emerging consensus that international intervention can secure peace by helping combatants overcome commitment problems following civil wars. But how do interveners accomplish this? Conventional wisdom suggests that intervention primarily works through military coercion.

We theorize an alternative mechanism: monitoring and conditioning incentives on compliance with peace processes. Despite a rich literature on intervention, little effort has been made to systematically identify and test the underlying mechanisms.

This paper takes a first step toward this end, using United Nations peacekeeping data from 1989-2012. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find military coercion is neither frequently employed nor necessary to overcome commitment problems in post-conflict settings. Conditional incentives are effective in prolonging peace — in fact, even when controlling for potential selection effects, they are more consistently correlated with reduced risk of conflict recurrence than military coercion.

This research has important implications for external efforts to secure peace in civil conflicts worldwide.