Contact By Mail

Susanna Campbell
Post-Doctoral Researcher
Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP)
The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
PO Box 136 — 1211 Geneva 21
Dr. Susanna Campbell is an international relations scholar focusing  on international security governance and the dynamics of post-war state formation.
Dr. Susanna Campbell is an international relations scholar and political scientist focusing on international security governance and the dynamics of violent state formation.

Academic Publications

  • Working Papers & Manuscripts
  • Books
  • Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
  • Book Chapters
  • Research Reports
  • Policy Briefs

“Not Built for Peace: Why Informal Accountability Determines International Peacebuilding Success”

(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.

Global Governance and Local Peace

(Book Manuscript)

Abstract: Global Governance and Local Peace explains why International Organizations (IOs), International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs), and state aid agencies sometimes achieve their country-level peacebuilding aims, and sometimes do not. Existing research claims that the country-level behavior of international actors is constrained by bureaucratic dysfunction and the preferences of their headquarters. In reality, the hundreds of IO, INGO, and donor offices established in conflict-affected countries have a high degree of independent decision-making power. Global Governance and Local Peace argues that international peacebuilding performance occurs only when independent staff empower local populations to hold their organization accountable. Without this local-level accountability, intervening organizations are likely to fail at peacebuilding. Their focus on global accountability, alone, undermines their chances at local-level performance. Through in-depth case studies into the behavior of five intervening organizations over a fifteen-year period in Burundi (1999-2014), this book provides an unprecedented examination of the country-level successes and failures of international interveners. Contrary to the existing peacebuilding literature, which focuses on failure, Global Governance and Local Peace shows that intervening organizations can achieve their country-level peacebuilding aims, but only when individual staff sidestep bureaucratic and hierarchical incentives and empower local populations.

“International NGOs and State Capacity: Facilitator or Destroyer?”

with Matthew DiGiuseppe and Amanda Murdie

(Under Review)

Abstract: Do international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) facilitate or destroy the bureaucratic capacity of the states in which they operate? The literature is split on this question. Some scholars argue that INGOs weaken state capacity by delivering social services that the government is supposed to provide. Others argue that by increasing a country’s domestic demand for improved human rights, INGOs improve a government’s capacity to fulfill them. In this paper, we show that the effect of INGOs on state capacity depends upon whether a state is democratic or non-democratic. In our cross-sectional time-series analysis, we find that INGO presence has a significant positive relationship with state capacity in democracies, but no relationship with state capacity in non-democratic states. These findings help to explain the inconsistent claims in the exiting INGO literature and are also relevant for INGOs and the policymakers that support them.

“Below the State: The Micro-dynamics of Aid Allocation During War-to-Peace Transitions”

with Michael Findley

(Working Paper)

Abstract: The literature on international aid is dominated by cross-national time series research that fails to examine patterns of aid allocation at the sub-national level. This country-level focus has prevented researchers from understanding how international aid interacts with local-level dynamics, particularly in countries ravaged by civil war. In this paper, we present findings from a new dataset on the behavior of international donors in Nepal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan between 1990 and 2013. Building on an innovative multi-method research design, we argue that donor behavior is determined by a combination of factors that are both exogenous and endogenous to the political, security, and economic trends in each war-torn country. More specifically, the local capacity, degree of humanitarian need, strategic interests of international donors, and organizational learning within donors combine together to determine donor behavior during war-to-peace transitions and, ultimately, their ability to positively or negatively influence these transitions.

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

with Michael Findley

(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.

“Improving Their Standing: How Regional Hegemons Make Use of Institutional Design”
with Barbara Bravo De Moraes Mendes and Stephanie Hofmann
Revise and Resubmit
Susanna P. Campbell and Peter S. Uvin
“The Burundi Leadership Training Program”
Michael Lund, ed.
Unofficial Contact: Convening Leaders in Conflict to Build Peace
New York, NY: Columbia University Press, forthcoming 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
“Introduction: The Politics of Liberal Peace”
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
Susanna P. Campbell and Patrick Meier
Deciding to Prevent Violent Conflict: Early Warning and Decision Making within the United Nations
CIIAN, Ottawa: Canadian International Institute of Applied Negotiation (2006)

Ongoing Research Grants

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
Bad Behavior?
Explaining Performance in International Peacebuilding Organizations

Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

funding raised: $270,000
duration: Nov 2013–Oct 2015
Dr. Campbell has evaluated or conducted research for the following organizations.