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Kinds of Blue: Diversity in UN Peacekeeping Missions and Civilian Protection

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2015


For a given number of troops in a peace operation, is it advisable to have soldiers from a single country, or should the UN recruit peacekeepers from a variety of donor countries? Since 1990, the number of contributors to peace operations has grown threefold, and most operations have carried the mandate to protect civilians. This article explores the effect of diversity in the composition of a mission, measured by fractionalization and polarization indices, on its performance in protecting civilians in Africa in the period 1991–2008. It finds that mission diversity decreases the level of violence against civilians, a result that holds when geographic and linguistic distances between countries are considered.

© Cambridge University Press 2015 

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Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick (email; Brasenose College, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford (email We thank Kyle Beardsley, Bernd Beber, Govinda Clayton, Philip Cunliffe, Ursula Daxecker and the participants to the Folke Bernadotte Academy workshops for their invaluable comments. Moreover, we benefited from the suggestions by the editor Shaun Bowler and four anonymous reviewers. Data replication sets and online appendices are available at


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