Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Aila Matanock ─ How Does International Intervention Work? Mechanisms for Securing Peace Settlements in Civil Conflicts

Thursday, October 13, 2016

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

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? Recent studies suggest that intervention primarily works through military force. We highlight an alternative mechanism: monitoring alongside non-military incentives conditioned on compliance with peace processes. Despite a rich literature on intervention, little effort h­as been made to systematically disaggregate and test these mechanisms. This paper takes a first step toward this end, using United Nations peacekeeping data from 1946-2012 and case evidence on El Salvador. Contrary to common wisdom, our analysis suggests that forceful coercion is not necessary to overcome commitment problems, particularly in post-conflict settings. Non-forceful coercion is effective in prolonging peace—in fact, even when controlling for potential selection effects, it may be more effective than military force. This research has important implications for external efforts to secure peace in civil conflicts worldwide.

Aila Matanock is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Security Studies Seminar