My study on “Winning Hearts and Minds in Civil Wars: Governance, Leadership Change, and Support for Violent Groups in Iraq” was accepted for publication in the American Journal of Political Science. It argues that leadership transitions that raise popular expectations of government service and security delivery increase government support and sap sympathy for violent opposition groups. To test the argument, the study leverages a unique research design opportunity that stems from the Iraqi prime minister’s unanticipated resignation announcement in 2014 while an original survey was in the field. The article traces the impact of this seminal event on the attitudes of the embattled Arab Sunni minority. Expecting the incoming prime minister to improve on the delivery of public goods and services, many Arab Sunnis realigned away from violent groups like ISIS and toward the government. Effective signals about future service delivery started to change attitudes prior to actual policy changes.
I am delighted that the editors of IO have invited Allison Carnegie and me to revise and resubmit our paper on the protection of civilians by UN peace operations to their journal. This article leverages two sources of exogenous variation in influence in the UN Security Council and 2SLS models to present the first cleanly identified estimate of the causal impact of multilateral peace operations on violence. This novel approach allows us to test the theoretical argument that the effect of peacekeepers depends on their relationship with the perpetrators of violence. Since peace operations often need to maintain close ties with the host government, they are only successful at reducing civilian fatalities inflicted by rebels, but not those caused by government forces.
I am excited that the editor of the American Journal of Political Science invited me and my co-authors Saurabh Pant and Beza Tesfaye to revise and resubmit our paper titled “Winning Hearts and Minds in Civil Wars: Governance, Leadership Change, and Support for Violence in Iraq“. This paper leverages original data from a national survey in Iraq and an unforeseen leadership transition while the survey was in the field to test the hearts-and-minds model of counterinsurgency. Specifically, the paper shows that the resignation of a divisive prime minister led Iraq’s displeased minorities to shift support away from the insurgency to the government. This realignment was due to rising optimism among minorities that the new government would provide basic services and public goods – specifically security, electricity, and jobs.
The editor of the Review of International Organizations invited me to resubmit a revised version of my paper on issue linkage across international organizations. This paper shows that states can leverage a temporary privileged position in one international organization (United Nations) to attain more beneficial bargaining outcomes in another international organization (European Union). I look forward to editing the paper in light of the the reviewers’ and editor’s very helpful comments. You can access the current version of the paper under the Research link on my website.
The editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution has accepted my paper on “Lessons on political violence from America’s post-9/11 wars”. This paper is co-authored with Jacob Shapiro. It analyzes the bargaining failures that led to the onset of these two wars and investigates local-level temporal and spatial variation in the intensity of combat. The paper reviews a large literature in political science that studies these two wars, summarizes the uniquely rich data on both conflicts, and outlines potential avenues for future research. The paper is available under the Research link on my website.