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", conditionally accepted at International Interactions

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 often result in a reduction of their commitments. Studies that evaluate this expectation yield mixed results. One finds no evidence that OECD countries provide fewer personnel to PKOs following fatalities. In contrast, another finds that fatalities generally correspond with reductions in states’ personnel commitments to UN operations 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 27 UN operations from 1990 to 2015 supports this expectation. The results show that states that are contiguous to an operation, which 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 troop commitments as their costs for participation increase.

 

"Beyond Dues: The Role of US Military Aid in UN Peacekeeping Operations", submitted for review

Shortfalls in support are common across UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs). An ongoing concern is that many missions lack sufficient resources to fulfill their mandates. This may in turn be a major contributing factor to shortages of peacekeeping personnel. How do provisions of resources to UN PKOs shape other states’ voluntary commitments of peacekeepers? This study focuses on the role of US peacekeeping assistance—beyond the US’ assessed dues to the UN’s peacekeeping budget—as a mechanism for reducing personnel shortfall. By giving aid directly to specific operations in the form of mission-specific goods and services (e.g., equipment, training, logistics), the US makes it more likely that peacekeepers can do their jobs effectively, lowers the costs for other states to provide personnel, and signals its interests in a mission. Results from an analysis of US peacekeeping assistance and personnel shortages within UN operations from 2000 to 2011 indicate that these provisions correspond with increases in personnel commitments. Future research should further evaluate the ways in which major powers can shape collective support for peacekeeping as well as the extent to which the US is unique in its ability to influence the formation of PKOs.

 

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

Abstract: Under what conditions is the American public supportive of U.S. use of force in foreign crises? Public opinion polls suggest existing tension between the perception of an anti-war public and a lack of backlash to ongoing U.S. military activity in different parts of the world. To address the underlying puzzle, we argue that the public assesses three key dimensions of an intervention: the motivation for an intervention, the form an intervention can take, and the tasks an intervention may be mandated to fulfill. Through a survey experiment, we evaluate several hypotheses in the context of a potential U.S. military intervention in a civil war. Comparing different motivations, we find that the strategies (forms and mandates) matter much more for public support. Regardless of motivation, the American public is generally more supportive of multilateral forms of intervention and prefers mandates that focus on the protection of civilians and peaceful conflict resolution

 

"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.