International Intervention and the Rule of Law after Civil War



Robert Blair, CISAC, Stanford University

Date and Time

November 15, 2018 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Abstract: What are the effects of international intervention on the rule of law after civil war? Rule of law requires not only that state authorities abide by legal limits on their power, but also that citizens rely on state laws and institutions to adjudicate disputes. Using an original survey and list experiment in Liberia, I show that exposure to the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) increased citizens’ reliance on state over non-state authorities to resolve the most serious incidents of crime and violence, and increased non-state authorities’ reliance on legal over illegal mechanisms of dispute resolution. I use multiple identification strategies to support a causal interpretation of these results, including an instrumental variables strategy that leverages plausibly exogenous variation in the distribution of UNMIL personnel induced by the killing of seven peacekeepers in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire. My results are still detectable two years later, even in communities that report no further exposure to peacekeepers. I also find that exposure to UNMIL did not mitigate and may in fact have exacerbated citizens’ perceptions of state corruption and bias in the short term, but that these apparently adverse effects dissipated over time. I conclude by discussing implications of these complex but overall beneficial effects

Speaker Bio: Rob Blair is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown University. His research focuses on international intervention and the consolidation of state authority after civil war, with an emphasis on rule of law and security institutions. He has conducted fieldwork on these and related topics in Colombia, Liberia, Uganda, and Côte d'Ivoire. He has also worked in various capacities for the the UN Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, the Political Instability Task Force, Freedom House, and the Small Arms Survey. He holds a B.A. from Brown, an M.Sc in Conflict Studies from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and a Ph.D in political science from Yale University. His research has been published in the American Political Science Review and other venues.