Research Interests

Conflict management and resolution, American foreign policy, civil wars, interstate wars, international institutions, agreements, national security, international security, third-party intervention, diplomacy, bargaining and negotiation


Turning the Tables: Direct Military Intervention and the Onset of Negotiations in Civil War

Conditionally accepted at the Journal of Conflict Resolution

Abstract: When do negotiations occur in civil war? How does military intervention alter this process? While the existing literature presents models of the onset of negotiations - both mediated and unassisted - they are incomplete if they do not consider third-party states involved in the conflict prior to negotiations. I argue that military intervention impacts negotiation onset by adjusting barriers to negotiation through three pathways: the likelihood of military victory, the risk of signaling weakness, and the presence of additional veto players. I examine these mechanisms using logistic random effects models on a dataset of African civil wars. An extension of the argument addresses how expectations of intervention shape conflict behavior. Rebel-supporting interventions, interventions with independent interests, and asymmetric interventions lead to an increase in the likelihood of negotiations occurring. Models controlling for expectations of intervention also suggest that third parties can impact belligerents' behavior through both expectations and follow-through.

Working Projects

Risk, Civil-Diplomatic Relations, and U.S. Diplomatic Involvement in Peace Processes

Under preparation for submission

Diplomatic Signals and the Strategic Use of Terrorism in Civil Wars (with Gabriella Levy, David Siegel, and Chong Chen)

Under preparation for submission

Abstract: How does third-party support, both diplomatic and material, affect rebel groups' use of terrorism in civil wars? We argue via a game-theoretic model that diplomatic support prompts prospective shifts in rebel tactics, from civilian to military targets, in anticipation of material support. We empirically test the model's implications using an original dataset of UN resolutions about countries in civil wars. In support of our theory, we find that material interventions are associated with decreased violence against civilians by rebel groups. The effect of UN resolutions on violence against civilians, while negative as predicted, does not reach statistical significance. These findings demonstrate the value of modeling civilian and military targeting as substitutes rather than examining civilian targeting in isolation.

The Perceived Effectiveness of Foreign Policy Tools: Evidence from Diplomats in the Philippines (with Pei-Yu Wei and Dean Dulay)

Under preparation for submission

Other Publications

Made in the USA: Populism beyond Europe (with Kirk Hawkins and Fred Tan)

ISPI Report, Populism on the Rise; Democracies under Challenge? (2016)

Do You Hear the People Sing? Populist Discourse in the French Revolution

Sigma Journal of Political and International Studies 33, p. 61-80 (2016)