International Relations

Measuring Success from Below: The Social Legitimacy of the United Nations among Populations Exposed to its Peacekeeping Operations



The success of peacekeeping forces is both a topic of heated debate in the literature on international peacekeeping. Most existing answers to this question rely on one- dimensional measures of effectiveness. This paper proposes another perspective based on the point of view of local residents in host countries. It argues that their support is an indicator of success, since they evaluate the institutional effectiveness of the peacekeepers. Using longitudinal data from the World Values Survey (N=25,196), and original data on the exposure to peacekeepers, we offer a systematic and cross-national measurement of the local legitimacy of peacekeeping forces. Results from a multilevel linear model show significantly lower levels of confidence in the United Nations in countries with an active peacekeeping operation. The level of confidence has a strong negative correlation with the size of the mission, even when controlled for varied ideological explanations and for confidence extrapolation.


Thumbnail image of SSRN UN Peacekeeping & legitimacy MAIN TEXT final named .pdf

Supplementary material

Thumbnail image of Figures and Tables UNpeacekeepers legitimacy.pdf
Tables and Figures
Tables and Figures, including regression models results and graphs


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Comment number 1, Amiad Haran Diman: Nov 21, 2020, 13:21

The abstract here is a shortened version that was brutally cut to fit the preprints requirements. Please see the main text for a full version.