Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2024

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Patrick Hunnicutt


The effects of climate change have been increasingly linked to the risk of intercommunal conflict, as climatic shocks have been shown to increase resource scarcity. Policymakers and academics agree that effectively designed institutions are critical variables in preventing and mitigating conflict, particularly in ecologically-fragile areas. However, there is a lack of evidence on the specific ways to strengthen institutions in the face of climate change, especially in conflict-affected settings. We argue that UN Peacekeeping Operations moderate the effects of climate change on intercommunal conflict by strengthening institutions governing common-pool resources (CPRs) to increase cooperation between communities sharing scarce resources. We test our argument by investigating whether local deployments of UN peacekeepers prevent violence between agriculturalist and pastoralist communities during climatic shocks. Our statistical analysis leverages high-resolution data on the timing and location of local deployments of UN peacekeepers, rainfall shocks, and conflict events in Mali between 2014 and 2018–where drought increasingly degrades shared grazing lands and the institutions used to promote their cooperative management. We find that the local deployment of UN peacekeepers mitigates the increased probability of conflict in agriculturalist communities that the onset of drought in neighboring pastoralist communities otherwise generates. Our results provide scholars and policymakers with quantitative insight into effective interventions that help communities experiencing climate-related resource scarcity bolster their CPR institutions and promote cooperation, decreasing intercommunal violence. As climate change continues to progress, understanding the actions that advance intercommunal cooperation in the face of resource scarcity is vital to prevent heightened risk of conflict.


Presented at the Spring 2024 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.