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Susanna P. Campbell
Assistant Professor
School of International Service
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

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(202) 885-1428
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Dr. Susanna Campbell is an international relations scholar focusing  on international security governance and the dynamics of post-war state formation.
Dr. Campbell is an Assistant Professor at American University focusing on global governance, international aid, and the micro-dynamics of war-to-peace transitions.

Academic Publications

  • Books by Susanna Campbell
  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles by Susanna Campbell
  • Book Chapters by Susanna Campbell
  • Working Papers & Manuscripts by Susanna Campbell
  • Policy Briefs by Susanna Campbell
  • Research Reports by Susanna Campbell
Charles T. Call and Susanna P. Campbell
Daedalus
Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Winter 2018
Susanna P. Campbell and Peter S. Uvin
Michael Lund and Steve McDonald, eds.
Across the Lines of Conflict: Facilitating Cooperation to Build Peace
New York, NY: Columbia University Press (2015) - (Peer Reviewed)
Susanna P. Campbell and Jenny Peterson
Roger Mac Ginty, ed.
Handbook of Peacebuilding
London: Routledge (2013)
Susanna P. Campbell, David Chandler, and Meera Sabaratnam
Susanna Campbell, David Chandler, and Meera Sabaratnam, eds.
A Liberal Peace?: The Problems and Practices of Peacebuilding
London: Zed Books (2011) - (Peer reviewed)
Barnett R. Rubin with Susanna P. Campbell
Barnett R. Rubin, ed.
Cases and Strategies for Preventive Action
New York: Twentieth Century Fund/ Council on Foreign Relations (1998), p. 1-21

Aiding Peace: Donor Behavior in Conflict-Affected Countries

with Michael Findley

(Working Paper and Book Manuscript)

Abstract: Despite prominent claims by international development organizations that they run highly conflict-sensitive operations, little is known about how the international community acts and reacts to the dynamics of civil war peace processes. This study hypothesizes that during peace processes foreign aid donors are motivated by four primary factors: their own strategic interest, their organizational flexibility, positive cooperative events, and negative conflictual events. Using subnationally-geocoded foreign aid information, and relying on extensive interviews in Kinshasa and Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, we examine the extent to which these four factors encourage or discourage substantial changes in foreign aid donors’ development assistance. The results show that while both conflictual and cooperative events influence changes in the foreign aid of all donors, their direction of shift is counterintuitive. Donors give more aid in response to conflict than cooperation. This may reward national actors who participate in violent conflict more than those who cooperate in the absence of violent conflict. Within the population of donors, those with strategic interest in the DRC make larger shifts – negative and positive – in subnational foreign aid allocation over time. Donors with strategic interest are generally more sensitive to the dynamics of civil war peace processes than those without strategic interest. Organizational flexibility, as coded in this study, does not appear to affect aid allocation in most cases. This analysis is a first step towards a comprehensive coding and analysis of foreign aid dynamics during peace processes, which will be based on data from the DRC, Sudan, and Nepal as well as survey experiments with donors in other countries.

Contracting Sovereignty: How Weak States Reclaim their Authority to Govern

(Working Paper)

Abstract: Dozens of International Organizations (IOs), International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), and States intervene in each fragile and conflict-affected country to save lives and build the foundations for sustainable peace and development. International relations literature assumes that once these global governors exercise, possess, or assert their authority to intervene in a country’s domestic territory, they do not have to renegotiate this authority (Lake 2010). This paper argues that a conflict-affect state renegotiates the authority of IOs, INGOs, and intervening states regularly through formal contracts and procedures. IOs, INGOs, and intervening states require the agreement and cooperation of the ‘host’ government to import procured goods, hire staff, establish their offices, and implement new strategies and programs. Through these daily interactions, the ‘host’ government reclaims some of its sovereign authority from these intervening organizations. The maintenance of contracts therefore enables supposedly weak states to wield significant power over the actors in global governance that operate on their territory. Contrary to claims in the international relations literature that international interveners impose their agenda on weak states, this paper uses detailed ethnographic fieldwork and archival research to show that conflict-affected states are increasingly using contractual arrangements to exercise significant power over international actors intervening on their territory.

Contextualizing Aid: A Survey Experiment of Donor Aid Allocation Logic in Conflict-Affected Countries

with Gabriele Spilker

(Working Paper)

Abstract: International aid donors increasingly focus their resources on fragile and conflict-affected countries, often stuck in a cycle of violence and underdevelopment. In spite of the large amount of aid allocated to these countries and their potential geopolitical importance, there is scant research on the logics donors follow when allocating aid to fragile and conflict-affected countries, particularly at the sub-national level. The broader aid literature has posited a stark difference between donors who are motivated by humanitarian need versus their strategic interest. This scholarship, however, overlooks how and why donors engage with states and societies at the sub-national level and whether this behavior is different in conflict-affected countries. This paper strives to better understand how and why donors decide to allocate aid to specific countries, sectors, and sub-national locations and how these patterns change alongside countries’ war-to-peace transitions. Relying on an original survey-embedded experiment administered to over 12,000 individuals working for donor and implementing organizations, we differentiate the conditions under which donor strategic interest, democratic elections, violent conflict, and peaceful cooperation influence the behavior of donors at the sub-national level. Given its large pool of respondents from different types of organizations (e.g., IOs, INGOs, bilateral aid donors, multilateral aid donors) working in diverse conflict-affected contexts, we are able to show that different types of organizations apply different allocation logics in divergent circumstances. As the first global survey experiment of country-level staff, this survey sheds crucial light on an important but understudied population.

The Benefits of Bad Behavior: Global Accountability and Local Performance in International Peacebuilding

(Working Paper)

Abstract: Of central concern to the study of international organizations is their ability to achieve the normative aims of their principals. Existing scholarship on International Organizations (IOs), International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), and state aid agencies has explained their success and failure in terms of institutional design, bureaucratic pathologies, and headquarter-level interactions between IOs, INGOs, and states. Scholars have largely ignored the behavior and performance of these global governors’ country-level offices, assuming that they simply implement the tasks delegated to them. Using evidence from the hard case of international peacebuilding, I show that IOs, INGOs, and bilateral donors vary significantly in their ability to achieve their local peacebuilding aims; heterogeneity that existing peacebuilding and global governance scholarship fail to explain. I argue that IOs, INGOs, and bilateral donors achieve positive peacebuilding performance only when they have formal accountability routines that prioritize peacebuilding and informal field-based accountability routines. Individual country-level staff create these informal accountability routines by circumventing formal routines, delegating informal power to local actors who are underrepresented by institutions of global governance. The implication is that the legitimacy of IOs, INGOs, and bilateral donors in the international security policy arena is partly dependent on the agency of individual staff who are willing to bypass the systems their principals established to hold them accountable. In other words, bad behavior is necessary for good performance.

The Micro-Dynamics of Peacebuilding: A Quasi-Experimental Spatial Impact Evaluation in Burundi

with Michael Findley and Danny Walker

(Working Paper)

When does international peacebuilding assistance have the desired sub-national effect in post-conflict countries? The literature on UN peace operations argues that the presence of robust and well-resourced UN peacekeeping operations helps to prevent some post-conflict countries from falling back into war, although countries that have experienced civil war still have a 57 percent rate of recidivism. The literature on international aid argues that more aid combined with a particular mixture of policy reforms will help to stabilize post-conflict contexts, but does not tell us how this mixture comes about. Based on the findings from our 2013 quasi-experimental impact evaluation of US$ 44 million that the UN Peacebuilding Fund allocated to Burundi between 2007 and 2013, we argue that the sub-national effect of international aid to post-conflict countries is due, in part, to how activities are implemented. Our quasi-experimental spatial study, combining a large household level survey with almost 200 semi-structured interviews, shows that the same organization with the same type of project can be successful in one location, but fail in another, in part because of how individual staff carry out its implementation. We thus identify the conditions under which peacebuilding assistance helps or hurts, which moves away from probabilistic accounts that ignore the important role played by project implementation and the individual staff who carry it out.

Susanna P. Campbell and Lisa Schirch
UNDP’s Role in Peacebuilding: Issues and Strategy
Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, United Nations Development Program (2012)
Michael G. Findley, Susanna Campbell, and Daniel Norfolk
Improving Beneficiaries’ Feedback on UN Peacebuilding Fund Projects
New York: United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (2015)

Ongoing Research Grants

Strengthening the Unlikely Sources of Peacebuilding Success
funding raised: $79,948
duration: October 2017 - December 2018
Aiding Peace?
Donor Behavior in Conflict Affected Countries

Funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS)

funding raised: $240,000
duration: Jan 2014–June 2016
Dr. Campbell has evaluated or conducted research for the following organizations.