UN interventions: The role of geography
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.
KeywordsUnited Nations Conflict resolution International organizations
JEL ClassificationsD74 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.
- Ahrens, A. (2013). Understanding conflict in africa: The role of economic shocks and spill-over effects. Working Paper.Google Scholar
- Barbieri, K., & Keshk, O. (2012). Correlates of war project trade data set codebook. Codebook Version, 3.Google Scholar
- BBC (2004). UN chief’s Rwanda genocide regret. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3573229.stm.
- BBC2 (2014). Migration surge hits eu as thousands flock to italy. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27628416.
- Buzan, B., & Waever, O. (2003). Regions and powers: the structure of international security(Vol. 91). Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Carmignani, F., & Kler, P. (2013). Surrounded by wars: Quantifying the role of spatial conflict spillovers. Technical report, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.Google Scholar
- Childers, E. (1994). Empowering the peoples in their United Nations. http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/228/32395.html.
- Fortna, V.P. (2008). Does peacekeeping work? Shaping belligerents’ choices after civil war. Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Greene, W.H. (2003). Econometric analysis–international edition. New York University.Google Scholar
- Higgins, R. (1995). Problems and process: International law and how we use it. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Martin, P., Mayer, T., Thoenig, M. (2012). The geography of conflicts and regional trade agreements. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 4(4), 1–35.Google Scholar
- Rajan, S.C. (2006). Global politics and institutions. GTI Paper Series: Frontiers of a Great Transition.Google Scholar
- Singer, J.D., Bremer, S., Stuckey, J. (1972). Capability distribution, uncertainty, and major power war, 1820-1965. Peace, war, and numbers, 19–48.Google Scholar
- Stojek, S., & Tir, J. (2011). Supply side of United Nations peacekeeping operations: Economic ties and locations of UN-led deployments. In: APSA 2011 annual meeting paper.Google Scholar
- Times, N.Y. (1994). Horror in Rwanda, shame in the U.N. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/05/03/opinion/horror-in-rwanda-shame-in-the-un.html.
- Voeten, E., & Merdzanovic, A. (2013). United Nations general assembly voting data. Accessed online November 2013.Google Scholar
- Wallensteen, P. (2011). Understanding conflict resolution: War, peace and the global system. Sage.Google Scholar