Research

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • “Ballots and Blackmail: Coercive Bargaining and the Democratic Peace.” With Michael PoznanskyInternational Studies Quarterly 60, No. 4 (2016): 731-741. Available here.

Book Project: Democracies Under Fire – How Targets and Allies Respond to Coercive Threats

Abstract: When do states concede to coercive threats? While the majority of research has focused on the states initiating these challenges, comparatively little attention has been given to the targets, the states that actually face the choice of whether to stand firm or back down. My project examines the role that a target’s regime-type, broadly construed as democratic versus non-democratic states, plays in the decision-making process, arguing that democracies are more likely to concede when threatened due to the higher costs they pay for foreign policy failure and the relative ease that challengers have in identifying whether democracies are vulnerable to coercion. Further, my argument also extends to the role of democratic allies, who are less reliable when threats of violence are employed against their protègès. I employ in-depth case studies such as the Munich and Suez Crises to demonstrate how my theory works in practice, as well as statistical analysis with data from the Militarized Compellent Threat (MCT) and Threat and Imposition of Economic Sanctions (TIES) datasets to show the external validity of my claims.

Under Review:

  • “Sword, Shield, or Both: Nuclear Weapons and the Initiation of Coercive Threats.” (Under Review)
    • Abstract: Do nuclear weapons influence the onset of coercion? While recent work has delved into the efficacy of threats with nuclear backing, there has been comparatively little emphasis on the decision to issue threats in the first place. This paper seeks to address this concern through testing how the possession of nuclear weapons by challengers and targets influences the likelihood of seeing a threat take place. Using the Militarized Compellent Threat Dataset, this paper demonstrates that though states with nuclear weapons are more likely to initiate a coercive demand, they provide no noticeable deterrent effect for targets. At the dyadic level, threats from nuclear-armed states are more likely against non-nuclear states and in cases where the challenger has nuclear superiority over the target.
  • “How Rebellion Shapes Recruitment During Civil War.” With Sabrina Karim and Suparna Chaudhry. (Under Review)
    • Abstract: Under what conditions do state leaders resort to forced recruitment or conscription during civil wars? While previous working has looked at structural-level factors that impact recruitment decisions, we look at the impact of leader agency and previous experience on recruitment during civil wars. We develop two mechanisms through which leaders’ past and present experiences with rebellions shape their decisions. First, rebels’ use of forced recruitment in current civil wars makes leaders more likely to recruit using conscription and forced recruitment. Furthermore, leaders’ previous participation in civil wars as a losing rebel makes them less likely to resort to use forced recruitment and conscription. Using the LEAD Dataset and data on recruitment from 1980-2009, we show the importance of impact of agency and experience on decision-making during civil work. We also document the frequency of the change in recruitment strategies during civil wars, as well as the reasons behind why states switch between them. Our results have strong implications for the importance of looking at leaders and their experiences in understanding conflict processes.

Working Papers:

  • “Compelling Targets: Democratic Targets and the Decision to Concede.”
  • “Creating a Balance: Great Power Politics and the Origins of European Integration.”
  • “Revealing the Hidden Flexibility of the MNL Model to Circumvent the IIA Assumption.” With Jonathan Kropko and Michael Poznansky.
  • “With Friends Like These: Compellent Threats, Democratic Allies, and Concessions.”

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