The Review of International Organizations

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 67–95 | Cite as

UN interventions: The role of geography

  • Juan C. Duque
  • Michael Jetter
  • Santiago Sosa


This paper argues that UN military interventions are geographically biased. For every 1,000 kilometers of distance from the three permanent Western UNSC members (France, UK, US), the probability of a UN military intervention decreases by 4 percent. We are able to rule out several alternative explanations for the distance finding, such as differences by continent, colonial origin, bilateral trade relationships, foreign aid flows, political regime forms, or the characteristics of the Cold War. We do not observe this geographical bias for non-military interventions, providing evidence that practical considerations could be important factors for UNSC decisions to intervene militarily. In fact, UNSC interventions are also more likely in smaller and poorer countries – both of which are indications of less costly interventions and higher chances of success, everything else equal.


United Nations Conflict resolution International organizations 

JEL Classifications

D74 F52 F53 N40 R12 



We thank seminar participants at the NIW (Hannover, Germany), the Universidad de Los Andes, the Southern Methodist University, and the University of Memphis for their valuable comments and discussions. We are especially grateful to Pedro Amaral, David Bardey, Theodore Breton, Leopoldo Fergusson, Alan Finkelstein Shapiro, Andrew Hussey, Louis Jaeck, David Kemme, James Lake, Mark Mullenbach, Albert Okunade, Ömer Özak, Timothy C. Salmon, Fabio Sánchez, Hans-Peter Schmitz, William T. Smith, David Stadelmann, Stephan Thomsen, Hernán Vallejo, Andrés Zambrano, and Hernando Zuleta for helpful comments and discussions.

Supplementary material

11558_2014_9199_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (269 kb)
(PDF 269 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research in Spatial Economics (RISE-group), Department of EconomicsUniversidad EAFITMedellínColombia
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversidad EAFITMedellínColombia
  3. 3.Research Group International StudiesUniversidad EAFITMedellínColombia

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