Rational choice institutionalism
in United Nations peace operations and International Relations theory
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This chapter takes a rational-choice institutionalist approach to UN peacekeeping and shows that the principal-agent model can offer valuable heuristic insights for analysing the most pressing challenges to date. It highlights the importance of studying preference heterogeneities among UN Security Council (UNSC) members, information asymmetries between the UNSC, the UN Secretariat and troops in the field, and the capacity and willingness of the involved principals to install credible and effective monitoring mechanisms. The chapter particularly focuses on the value of conceptualising so-called chains of delegation to get grip on the politics of control in the increasingly complex web of agents in UN peacekeeping. In doing so, it focuses on two challenges in particular: first, information flows between the UN headquarters in New York and the missions in-theatre; and, second, the difficulty that comes with the increased involvement of regional organisations in peace operations.

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