It remains contested whether peacekeeping works. The impact of peacekeepers’ actions at the local subnational level for overall mission success has lately received critical attention. Local peacekeeping is expected to matter because it reassures local actors, deters resumption of armed hostilities, coerces parties to halt fighting, and makes commitment to agreements credible. Thus peacekeepers affect the relations between central and local elites and avoid the emergence of local power vacuums and areas of lawlessness. This study uses new subnational data on the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers. It uses matching and recursive bivariate probit models with exogenous variables for temporal and spatial variation to deal with possible nonrandom assignment of the treatment. We demonstrate that conflict episodes last for shorter periods when peacekeepers are deployed to conflict-prone locations inside a country, even with comparatively modest deployment. The effect of peacekeeping on the onset of local conflict is, however, less clear cut.
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