Economic Sanctions and Civil War Recurrence: Can Sanctions Contribute to Lasting Peace?  (with T. Clifton Morgan)

Economic sanctions are frequently employed by third parties in civil war contexts with the aim of influencing the conduct and outcome of the war. Previous research has primarily focused on whether sanctions can speed conflict resolution by incentivizing states to cease hostilities. However, we have not explored the implications of sanctions for post-conflict politics. Conflict termination and peace sustainability are two different outcomes; in this paper, we focus on how sanctions can have long-term implications for the latter. We examine how the threat and imposition of sanctions during civil wars impact the likelihood of war recurrence and contribute to lasting peace by facilitating the transformation of rebel groups into political parties. We propose two mechanisms through which sanctions affect rebel political involvement: cost generation and norm dissemination. Sanctions that impose costs on governments during civil wars can bolster rebels' capacity and increase their prospects of becoming political actors. Furthermore, sanctions that target the government's behavior in the conflict can enhance the legitimacy of rebel groups, thereby fostering their transition into the political sphere. To investigate these expectations empirically, we utilize cross-national data from the UCDP Conflict Termination dataset, the Civil War Successor Party dataset, and the TIES dataset on threatened and imposed sanctions. By examining conflict recurrence, rebel group transformations, and types of sanctions, our analysis provides valuable insights into the determinants of lasting peace and the long-term consequences of sanctions in post-conflict settings. This study holds significant policy implications for states contemplating the use of sanctions on actors involved in civil wars. By providing a better understanding of the likely long-term consequences of such choices, our findings can inform state decisions and contribute to more effective peacebuilding strategies.

More than a Woman: Gender and Corruption Perceptions in Post-Conflict Scenarios.

Scholars have extensively highlighted the role of women in reducing corruption perception and promoting conflict resolution. Yet, in civil conflict contexts, how women’s presence can reduce corruption perception is still vastly unexplored. Despite factors such as building institutional trust and promoting political stability being essential to sustainable peace, governments of countries experiencing civil conflict are often perceived to be highly corrupt. I argue that women participating in peace processes play an important role in advancing women’s issues and lowering corruption perception after conflict, particularly in more democratic settings and when third parties to the conflict oversee the conflict resolution strategies. I test these expectations using a cross-sectional comparison and a survey experiment. Preliminary results from the cross-sectional analysis show that the presence of women negotiators is positively correlated with the inclusion of gender-related provisions in peace agreements conditioned by the presence of third parties in the peace process. They are also associated with lower corruption perception levels, especially in countries with better levels of democracy. These results expand our understanding of the causal relationship between gender and corruption perception in complex contexts. At the same time, it posits substantial implications for the role of women in the prospects of peace in post-conflict settings.

Tell me More: The effect of UN recommendations on post-conflict women's representation.

This article explores the role of international actors in influencing women's representation within post-conflict political parties. Although women's representation tends to increase in societies after conflict settlement, the mechanisms by which this occurs, particularly within political parties formed as an outcome of the settlement, remain underexplored. I argue that international actors assisting peace implementation processes can influence the extent to which post-conflict political parties promote women representatives, especially in places where women have been highly victimized during the war. To test the expectations, I use a newly compiled dataset on the presence of women representatives and UN missions in post-conflict parties and data on sexual violence from the ACLED Project. If expectations are correct, results will serve as evidence that international political efforts have the potential to influence the behavior of domestic actors in post-conflict contexts. These results would have important policy implications, as increasing women's representation may help address issues of women's victimization more effectively in the post-conflict period.


Good Deeds? The Effect of Rebel Group Commitments to International Human Rights Norms (with  Yui Nishimura)

Are commitments by rebel groups to international norms effective in reducing human rights violations? This paper explores whether adherence to human rights treaties can reduce the likelihood that non-state actors will engage in human rights violations. Rebel groups publicly commit to upholding international humanitarian law to enhance their legitimacy among domestic and international audiences. These commitments, called "Deeds of Commitment," are hypothesized to be more likely when rebel groups seek to gain legitimacy, particularly in the aftermath of significant past violations. We anticipate that these commitments have the potential to effectively shape rebel group behavior, leading to a reduction in the number of violations committed over time. Using data from the Geneva Call's Deed of Commitment, the Rebel Human Rights Violations (RHRV), and the Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) datasets, we explore the effect of these treaties on the areas of child protection, sexual violence, and gender discrimination. By examining the interplay between rebel group commitments, human rights violations, and the adoption of international norms, this study contributes to the broader discourse on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, providing valuable insights for policymakers and practitioners seeking to mitigate violence against vulnerable groups.

Justice and Militias During Intrastate Conflict (with Santiago Sosa and Liana Eustacia Reyes)

Scholars argue that states delegate their “dirty work” to pro-government militias (PGMs) during civil war to avoid accountability from both domestic and international audiences. However, in addition to using PGMs, we observe the simultaneous use of domestic trials for prosecuting rebels. In principle, resorting to these trials may lead to releasing evidence or accusations, holding state leaders accountable for their behavior during the war, and exposing them to accusations of war crimes and human rights violations committed by the PGMs. Why would states pursue both strategies - use PGMs and prosecute rebels in domestic courts? We argue that governments make strategic calculations regarding these tactics and are more likely to prosecute rebels in different trial venues, conditional on the type of PGMs they employ. We examine our argument using comprehensive data on PGMs and During Conflict Justice from 1981 to 2014. Our argument adds nuance to the conventional wisdom on plausible deniability and has implications for transitional justice mechanisms following armed conflict.