Peacekeeping and election violence

Abstract: Democracy assistance, including eorts to promote electoral security, is often a central component of the peace-building activities that multidimensional peacekeeping forces are set to do. Whereas numerous studies show that peacekeepers can eectively reduce civil war violence, research has produced mixed and null ndings regarding peacekeepers’ influence on democratization. Given how central the institutionalization of accountable and inclusive governance has been in the international peace-building agenda, it is important to understand these divergent findings. This paper takes a step in this direction and examines whether and how United Nations (UN) peacekeepers can assist democratic transition by promoting peaceful elections. We provide the rst comprehensive sub-national study of peacekeeping effectiveness in reducing the risk of electoral violence in the critical post-conflict electoral period. We combine geo-referenced data on peacekeeping deployment across all multidimensional peacekeeping missions in Africa over the past two decades with similarly ne grained data on the incidence of electoral violence. Our results show that peacekeepers reduce the risk of electoral violence. However, their contribution to electoral security is only moderate.

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