An Obvious and Elusive Data Set

At the moment, I’m struggling through a paper for a class I’m taking with Edward Gibson on Federalism here at Northwestern.  Not to spoil the plot, but here is what the paper is trying to explain:

  1. International conditions matter in the selection of federal institutions, and
  2. Adherence to the territorial integrity norm (first precisely identified by Mark Zacher from UBC) may lead to the counterproductive selection of federal solutions to intrastate ethnic conflict eclipsing perhaps more appropriate options such as territorial partition or unitary government.

Given increased multilateral international intervention and post-conflict involvement in instances of civil war and ethnic violence since the end of the Cold War, it seemed to me that cases of international involvement in intrastate ethnic violence should provide an easy test of the proposition that international conditions matter in the selection of post-conflict institutional selection. 

So how to operationalize this information?  I figured that I would look for a simple data set somewhere which would list all the peacekeeping operations deployed by the United Nations since its inception, under which chapter of the UN charter they were authorized, if the conflict they were addressing was "ethnic" and/or intrastate based, and if part of the resolution to the conflict included the adoption of a federal system.  While I figured I would just have to code the last part myself, I assumed someone somewhere must have this list available, but to no avail.

After three hours of tediously pulling this information off the United Nations Peacekeeping website one mission at a time, I am happy to say that I have something that resembles a useful set of data.  Now I know why professors employ research assistants.  What a pain in the ass. 

Anyhow, I put this together in a bit of a rush.  Given that I’m trying to write a whole paper here and this data just illustrates one point I’m trying to make in a single paragraph, I figured this was not the time for precision.  If the professor likes it enough to suggest it should be published, I’ll go back and double check the stats.  In the meantime, I’d like to save everyone else the trouble I went through and provide this info "for free". 

The data is organized into 9 categories: mission name, country, year, intrastate, ethnic, purpose, federal, chapter, unres.  Clearly only a few of these categories are ordinal in any sense, but it seems like a good start.  If you’re interested in reading the set, send me an email and I’ll fire it your way.

Happy hunting…

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One Response to An Obvious and Elusive Data Set

  1. Dr. Kobi Michael says:

    Hi there,

    as a researcher who deals with Peace Support Operations i will be glad to have the data.



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