Work in Progress

This is a list of current working papers and manuscripts. If no PDF link is available, please email me for a copy.


The Democracy Dilemma. Aid, Power-Sharing Cabinets, and Post-Conflict Democratization.
(Dissertation paper)

How does development aid shape democracy after civil conflicts? I argue that aid conditionalities and recipient elites’ economic utility from office give rise to a rent-seeking/democracy dilemma: Recipients can democratize and risk uncertainty over office and rents—or refuse, but have a higher chance to remain in power and access rents. This dilemma is strongest in power-sharing cabinets. By granting rebel groups temporally limited access to the state budget, they intensify elites’ rent-seeking motives. Thus, aid-dependent power-sharing elites will hold clean elections, but also limit judicial independence and increase particularistic spending to remain in power. I find statistical support for this argument using data on aid flows and power-sharing cabinets for all post-conflict states between 1990 and 2010. The findings have implications for aid effectiveness research, peacebuilding debates, and the study of democratization more broadly.


Insurgency and Ivory: The Territorial Origins of Organized Crime in Civil Conflicts

Under which conditions do rebel groups engage in criminal funding strategies? I argue that rebels become involved in organized crime when they are in competition with governments over territorial authority. Territorial competition provides opportunities for crime by eroding state authority and creating logistical as well as political incentives for rebels to pursue criminal funding strategies. As territorial competition increases, rebels should intensify their criminal activities—particularly in the form of crimes that require only moderate technological investments, that can be easily taxed, and that are highly profitable. I test this proposition for a type of crime that closely matches these characteristics: ivory poaching in Africa. I match spatially disaggregated conflict event data that captures rebels’ territorial interests to original poaching data in conflict-affected African countries between 2003 and 2015. Controlling for unobservable site-specific differences and temporal shocks, I show that rebels that seek strategic control over territory increase poaching rates between 7 to 30 percent. This effect becomes substantially stronger in contexts of weak political institutions, systemic corruption, and few external funding sources. Additional results from cross-national regressions suggest that the link between territorial competition and rebels’ criminal activities can be generalized beyond ivory poaching. These findings highlight the strategic conditions under which armed rebellion shapes criminal behavior and help to better understand the drivers of one of the most severe ecology crises on the African continent.


Does Peace Trickle Down? Micro-Level Evidence from Africa (PDF)
with Martin Ottmann

We investigate if ethnic representation in power-sharing cabinets generates socio-economic peace dividends for citizens in post-war countries. We conceptualize rebel groups as ethno-political organizations that engage in distributive politics after conflict, provide security for their ethnic constituents, and serve as psychological anchor for co-ethnic citizens. As a result, we expect that individuals with ethnic ties to rebel organizations that secure political power through posts in a power-sharing cabinet perceive their well-being better than individuals without these links. To test this argument, we link data from recent Afrobarometer surveys to information on individuals’ ethnic ties to rebel organizations in power-sharing arrangements in four African post-war countries. Controlling for a battery of factors that might simultaneously predict an ethnic group’s propensity to gain political power and their members’ well-being, results from a wide range of fixed effects specifications indicate support for our hypothesis. Peace trickles down, but not to everyone equally.


Rebels, Revenue, and Redistribution. The Political Geography of Post-Conflict Power-Sharing
with Martin Ottmann

Does power-sharing shape patterns of redistributive politics after civil war? We assume that power-sharing governments provide an opportunity for rebel elites to access state resources. In order to sustain their political survival, these elites then allocate state resources disproportionately to their regional power bases. We expect this effect to be visible in the settlement areas of rebel groups’ ethnic constituency groups. To test this proposition, we link information on rebel groups in power-sharing governments in seven African post-conflict countries to information about ethnic support for rebel organizations. We combine this information with sub-national data on ethnic groups’ settlement areas and data on night light emissions captured by satellites to proxy sub-national variation in resource investments. Complementing cross-sectional regressions with difference-in-difference models, we are able to show that regions with ethnic groups represented through rebels in the power-sharing government exhibit higher levels of night light emissions than those regions without such representation.


Better Peacekeepers, better Protection? Troop Quality of United Nations Peace Operations and Violence against Civilians
with Nadine Ansorg

Why do similarly sized peacekeeping missions vary in their effectiveness to protect civilians in conflicts? We argue that peace operations with a large share of troops from countries with high-quality militaries are better able to deter violence from state and non-state actors, create buffer zones within conflict areas, can better reach remote locations, and have superior capabilities—including diplomatic pressure by troop contributing countries—to monitor the implementation of peace agreements. These operational advantages enable them to better protect civilians. Combining data from military expenditures of troop contributing countries together with monthly data on the composition of peace operations, we create a proxy indicator for the average troop quality of UN PKOs. Statistical evidence from an extended sample of conflicts in Africa and Asia between 1991 and 2010 supports our argument.