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By Naazneen H. Barma, Naomi Levy, Jessica Piombo
| January 17, 2017
While scholars and practitioners alike argue that the pursuit of sustainable peace in post-conflict developing countries requires international interventions to build state capacity, many debate the precise effects that external assistance has had on building peace in conflict-affected states. This paper seeks to clear conceptual ground by proposing a research agenda that disentangles statebuilding and peacebuilding from each other. Recent scholarship has made the case that the two endeavours are geared towards distinct sets of goals, yet few have subjected the causal mechanism underlying those processes or the relationship between them to sustained theoretical and empirical inquiry. Additionally, despite decades of mixed results from international interventions, we lack knowledge of the mechanisms by which external engagement leads to specific outcomes. To address these gaps, this paper offers a causal framework for understanding the effects of aid dynamics on state coherence and the depth of peace. It specifies the variables in that framework, with a view to establishing a new research agenda to advance our understanding of statebuilding and peacebuilding. Finally, it proposes that public service delivery in post-conflict countries offers fertile empirical ground to hypothesize about and test the relationship between state coherence and sustainable peace.