Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel S. Morey


In May 1948, the United Nations launched its first peacekeeping mission named the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). Since this first mission, the United Nations has launched over 70 peacekeeping missions in regions such as Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa (Bellamy and Williams, 2015). The overarching goal of the United Nations, and the Security Council as the organ responsible for authorizing peacekeeping missions, is to protect international peace (United Nations, 1945a). However, the means of achieving international peace differs across missions. One source of variation concerning the means of achieving peace is found in peacekeeping mission mandates. While these mandates are determined on a case-by-case basis (United Nations Secretariat, 2008), scholars and policymakers find that mandates are becoming increasingly risky regarding peacekeeper physical security due to the surge in mandates that authorize the use of force (Howard and Dayal, 2018). Furthermore, the conflict environment has made mandate implementation increasingly dangerous, as seen by the overall increase in peacekeeper fatalities (Henke, 2019). The rise in the number of peacekeeping missions, increased peacekeeper fatalities, and the frequent authorization of risky mandates risk leads to the question, how does mandate risk affect peacekeeping mission outcomes? I argue that missions with high-risk mandates and dangerous conflict environments generate sub-optimal mission outcomes, specifically, fewer troop contributions from troop-contributing states, smaller troop deployments in the host state, and shorter force commander tenures.

The dissertation is organized in the following way. In Chapter 1, I motivate the dissertation using qualitative and quantitative evidence to create the empirical puzzle. In Chapter 2, I explain the literature on the foundational and modern questions of peacekeeping research. With this information, I then introduce the three literatures I intend to address in the dissertation, which are troop contributions, local troop deployments, and force commander tenure, that concludes with the gaps my work fills. Chapter 3 contains a brief discussion on the mission creation process that ranges from initial authorization to putting “boots on the ground” in the mission host state.

Following the background knowledge, I develop three chapters with unique theoretical arguments and empirical models to determine the effect of mission mandates on various outcomes. Chapter 4 introduces the concept and measure of mandate risk employed through the remainder of the dissertation. From this explanation, I argue that higher levels of mandate risk and conflict environment danger increase the perceived costs of troop contributions, leading to reduced troop contribution levels. In Chapter 5, I generate the force commander’s dilemma to demonstrate that mandate risk and conflict danger are associated with small troop deployments in the host state and the conclusion that the reducing effect of mandates deteriorates after a significant amount of time. I argue in Chapter 6 that risky mandates and dangerous conflict conditions should reduce force commander tenures, but empirical models do not provide evidence in support of the argument. Last, I summarize each chapter’s conclusions, ramifications for the peacekeeping literature, policy implications, and directions for future work in Chapter 7.

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