Publications

"Does Counterterrorism Militarize Foreign Aid? Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," 2017  (co-authored with Tobias Heinrich and Carla Martinez Machain), Journal of Peace Research. 
Abstract: This article studies whether the pursuit of counterterrorism militarizes foreign aid flows. It focuses on the case of US foreign aid to sub-Saharan African states, which recently have experienced an increase in the presence of al-Qaeda or its affiliate terrorist organizations. This article argues that as terrorist groups carry out attacks inside a state’s territory, aid towards that state will serve such counterterrorism goals. For one, the state’s executive branch will receive increased military aid to immediately fight al-Qaeda or affiliates. For the other, the United States also steps up aid for civil society and development, which could over time undermine al-Qaeda’s mobilization and recruitment efforts. In an empirical analysis that covers 46 African states from 1996 to 2011, our results largely corroborate the hypothesized patterns for attacks that occur on a country territory and in the neighborhood. We note, though, that the overall composition of aid shifts relative to the military when there are direct attacks, something that does not occur when attacks happen in the neighborhood only. Our article concludes that concerns about militarization of aid are warranted, but that actual manifestations are nuanced.
 
"Great Power and Foreign Policy," 2017 (co-authored with Carla Martinez Machain and Rebecca Kaye), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.

Working Papers

"A Price for Peace: Troop Contributing Countries' Responses to Peacekeeper Fatalities", invited to revise and resubmit

How do states respond to fatalities of their service personnel in peacekeeping operations? Recent research highlights that participation in peacekeeping is costly for most states. Personnel fatalities should create further costs for contributors and, as a result, tend to cause a reduction in their commitments. Studies that evaluate this expectation yield mixed results. One finds no evidence that OECD countries provide fewer personnel to UN PKOs following fatalities. In contrast, another finds that fatalities generally correspond with reductions in states’ personnel commitments to UN PKOs in Africa but also reveals that wealthier contributors in these missions tend to withdraw more than their poorer counterparts. This study builds on this work by further hypothesizing that the incentives that motivate states to provide peacekeepers to a PKO condition their willingness to maintain their contributions after experiencing fatalities. An analysis of states’ troop fatalities and commitments to all UN operations from 1990 to 2015 supports this expectation. The results show that states that are contiguous to an operation, which tend to face greater concerns about the externalities of nearby conflicts, and states that receive side payments for their troop commitments via foreign aid are more tolerant to fatalities of their members than other contributors. Additional findings suggest that contributors respond similarly to fatalities of others' peacekeepers but that the overall intensity of violence surrounding a mission does not affect their commitments. The findings illustrate that the conditions that motivate states to participate in PKOs also affect their willingness to maintain their commitments as their costs for participation increase.

"Understanding American public opinion toward U.S. Military Intervention," (co-authored with Songying Fang), submitted for review

Abstract: Using a survey experiment, this study investigates two questions regarding American public opinion toward U.S. military intervention: For what foreign policy motivations is the public more willing to support a U.S. intervention? What forms of intervention is the public more likely to support, perhaps conditional on the underlying motivation? Our investigation yields the following main results. First, when a humanitarian crisis has implications for U.S. security interests, respondents were more supportive of some form of intervention than otherwise. Second, the only scenario where unilateralism receives majority support was when a crisis situation poses a risk to U.S. national security; on the other hand, for all motivations, UN peacekeeping and allied actions received a supermajority of support. Third, respondents were most supportive of U.S. soldiers engaging directly in combat when security interests are involved, however, options that are less aggressive received the most support for all scenarios. Finally, legitimacy was the primary concern for respondents when choosing whether to support an intervention; different from a conventional assumption within the literature, we did not find concerns about costs driving support for either coalition building or a UN-endorsed mission. These results shed important insights on Americans' foreign policy preferences.

"Trust building while peacekeeping: The role of peacekeepers as unbiased monitors," (co-authored with Sam Whitt and Rick K. Wilson), in progress

Abstract: Do perceptions of bias among third-party peacekeepers affect levels of trust between groups in conflict? We argue that unbiased peacekeepers are most effective at promoting trust. We first demonstrate this through survey data on ethnocentric attitudes across Bosnian Serbs and Muslims in the presence of Russian versus NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We find strong correlations between the types of peacekeepers and responses by belligerents.  To further isolate the effect of bias on trust, we use an iterated trust game in a laboratory setting. Taken together, the findings suggest that biased peacekeepers impede trust while unbiased peacekeepers promote greater cooperation post-conflict.

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