Here is a link to my research statement.


“A Reanalysis of the Relationship between Indirect Rule, Ethnic Inclusion, and Decolonization”, Forthcoming at The Journal of Politics

Abstract: Did indirect rule during the colonial era cause greater ethnic inclusion in the post- independence era? This article replicates a recent study that exploits exogenous variation in British and French colonial rule. Wucherpfennig, Hunziker, and Cederman argue that British and French colonies experienced different levels of post-independence ethnic inclusion, and this was due to the metropolitan blueprints of direct and indi- rect rule. I replicate this study by using a more granular measure of indirect rule– substituting a binary indicator with a continuous variable–and show that the first stage results do not hold and produce opposite effects. I find that ethnic groups that are farther from the coast in British colonies that were ruled more indirectly are less likely to experience ethnic inclusion than in directly rule colonies. I suggest that the differences in ethnic inclusion between the British and French empires can be attributed to policies during the process of decolonization.

“How are Immigration and Terrorism Related? An Analysis of Right and Left Wing Terrorism in Western Europe, 1980-2004”, Forthcoming at Journal of Global Security Studies.

Abstract: This paper argues that, for Western European countries from 1980-2004, an increase in migration is positively related to an increase in terrorism. I find that, for nearly all Western European countries, migration is positively related to terrorism, but only for a specific type: right wing terrorism. Immigration has no effect on left wing terrorism and non-right wing terrorism. I also conduct analyses for the effect of incoming refugees on terrorism, and find similar results. I argue that these population flows increase terrorism in part because it aggravates the grievances of those on the radical right. To provide empirical support for this mechanism, I conduct an subnational analysis on right wing terrorism in Germany. For German states, the percentage of foreign-born immigrants is a bigger predictor of anti-immigrant violence than economic variables such as employment or trade levels. I also show that the flow of immigrants from outside of Europe is positively related with right wing terror, while no relationship exists for intra-European migration. This serves to qualify the study of terrorism as a strategic choice by showing that increased antipathy toward an out-group, rather than the changing strategic environment, helps explain variation in levels of terrorism, at least among liberal democracies.

“Elections and Policy Responsiveness: Evidence from Environmental Voting in the U.S. Congress” (with Johannes Urpelainen), Forthcoming at Review of Policy Research.

Do elections affect legislators' voting patterns? We investigate this question in the context of environmental policy in the US Congress. We theorize that since the general public is generally in favor of legislation protecting the environment, legislators have an incentive to favor the public over industry and vote for pro-environment legislation at election time. The argument is supported by analyses of data on environmental roll-call votes for the US Congress from 1970-2013 where we estimate the likelihood of casting a pro-environment as a function of the time to an election. While Democrats are generally more likely to cast a pro-environment vote before an election, this effect is much stronger for Republicans when the legislator won the previous election by a thinner margin. The election effect is maximized for candidates receiving substantial campaign contributions from the (anti-environment) oil and gas industry. Analysis of Twitter data confirms that Congressmembers make pro-environmental statements and highlight their roll-call voting behavior during the election season. These results show that legislators do strategically adjust their voting behavior to favor the public immediate prior to an election.

“Couscous Mussolini: US perceptions of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the 1958 intervention in Lebanon and the origins of the US-Israeli special relationship”, Cold War History, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2011.

Abstract: This article argues that the US print media influenced US foreign policy by crafting a powerful narrative of Gamal Abdel Nasser that characterised Nasser as an expansionistic dictator by comparing him to Hitler and Mussolini. This narrative gained currency when the US public became anxious over Israel's security after the Czech arms deal of 1955. The narrative influenced US policy by strengthening the cultural relationship between Israel and the US by describing Nasser in similar terms, and also by influencing Eisenhower's and Dulles' perceptions of the Middle East immediately prior to the US deployment of troops to Lebanon in 1958.

Working Papers

How do International Borders affect Conflict Processes? Evidence from the End of Mandate Palestine

Abstract: This paper argues that international borders can constrain violence in secessionist conflicts. As a signal of their legitimacy to the international community, secessionist rebels have an incentive to restrain from violating international borders. However, rebels' need for security pressures them to increase their territorial control. Rebels will limit violence within a border area when trying to achieve international recognition, and abandon that aim once recognition is achieved. I test this theory in the context of the 1948 war in Mandate Palestine. I argue that the 1947 UN Partition line between Arab and Jewish territory constituted a natural experiment, and use a regression discontinuity design on original historical data on over 1,000 Palestinian villages to see how the UN border affected the manner and form of violence that occurred during the war. This is a particularly hard test for the theory as the UN Partition plan was never implemented and remained lines on a map. I find that villages in areas that the UN assigned to the future Israeli state as part of the 1947 Partition Plan were conquered by the Israelis earlier and experienced higher levels of violence against civilians.

The Politics of Anticolonial Resistance: Violence, Nonviolence, and the Erosion of Empire

Abstract: Most studies of conflict in the IR literature take place within conditions of anarchy. This paper engages with recent work on hierarchy to study conflict in an hierarchical international system. I ask, how did the British Empire respond to violent and nonviolent resistance within its colonies? To answer this question I develop a theory explaining how and why the metropole becomes involved in and grants concession to its peripheral colonies. In contrast to more recent work, I argue that violence is more effective at coercing concessions from the metropole to its colonies. This theory is supported with a wide range of data, including yearly measures of anticolonial resistance along with daily measures of metropolitan discussions of colonial issues from cabinet archives and web-scraped casualty data from British death records. My find- ings show that the effectiveness of resistance is conditional on the political structure that it is embedded in and that hierarchy matters for understanding state responses to resistance.

State Disengagement: Evidence from Former French West Africa (with Joan Ricart-Huguet)

How do states respond to civil disobedience? The standard “repression or concession” logic presumes that the state is strong enough to punish or co-opt dissent effectively. Instead, we argue that the state may disengage when it is weak. We show that colonial states in former French West Africa reduced public investments in districts where chiefs engaged in (largely nonviolent) disobedience. However, we also show that chieftain disobedience reduced district taxation, rather than increased it as a punishment. The state was too weak to enforce higher taxes on districts with hostile chiefs or to co-opt them with higher investments, and instead disengaged from districts that were difficult to rule. Our findings show that chieftain disobedience partly explains why subnational development was so unequal during colonialism. Low-level and nonviolent resistance, usually overlooked in the conflict literature, also affects state-society relations and state formation.