Peer-reviewed articles

Alexander De Juan, Christian Gläßel, Felix Haass, Adam Scharpf. The Political Effects of Witnessing State Atrocities: Evidence from the Nazi Death Marches.
Comparative Political Studies, conditionally accepted, 2023.

How does witnessing regime atrocities influence the political attitudes of bystanders? We argue that observing regime violence against innocent civilians triggers psychological dissonance between beliefs about the regime and the witnessed moral transgression. As a result, regime support should decrease among bystanders of state atrocities. We analyze original, highly disaggregated archival data from the Nazi death marches at the end of World War II, which confronted ordinary German citizens with the regime’s crimes. We find that locations with higher victim numbers had lower vote shares for right-wing nationalist parties after the war. Supporting our proposed mechanism, we show that 1) this effect was strongest when Nazi crimes were at the center of public discourse, and 2) that witnessing Nazi atrocities was associated with individuals’ rejection of Hitler twenty years later. The findings have implications for understanding democratization prospects and people’s nostalgia for fallen autocrats.

Alexander De Juan, Felix Haass, Carlo Koos, Sascha Riaz, Thomas Tichelbaecker. War and Nationalism: How WW1 battle deaths fueled civilians’ support for the Nazi Party.
American Political Science Review, forthcoming, 2023. PDF

Can wars breed nationalism? We argue that civilians’ indirect exposure to war fatalities can trigger psychological processes that increase identification with their nation and ultimately strengthen support for nationalist parties. We test this argument in the context of the rise of the Nazi Party after World War 1. To measure localized war exposure, we machine-coded information on all 8.6 million German soldiers who were wounded or died in WW1. Our empirical strategy leverages battlefield dynamics that cause plausibly exogenous variation in the county-level casualty fatality rate—the share of dead soldiers among all casualties. We find that throughout the interwar period, electoral support for right-wing nationalist parties, including the Nazi Party, was 2.6 percentage points higher in counties with above-median casualty fatality rates. Consistent with our proposed mechanism, we find that this effect was driven by civilians rather than veterans and areas with a preexisting tradition of collective war commemoration.

Felix Haass, Caroline Hartzell, Martin Ottmann. Citizens in Peace Processes.
Journal of Conflict Resolution, 66(3): 1547-1561, 2022.

Citizen engagement in and support for peace processes have been deemed important for sustainable peace after civil wars. Yet much of what we know about peace processes in civil wars centers on the interests of elite actors. This special feature aims to advance a research agenda focusing on citizens in peace processes to address this mismatch. In the introduction to the special feature, we first present empirical evidence situating citizens in relation to civil war peace processes. We then trace the current state of the literature on the roles of citizens in peace processes. Following that, we introduce a conceptual framework designed to improve scholarly analysis of the political behavior of citizens in peace processes. We also locate the individual contributions to the special feature within the framework in order to demonstrate its utility and as a means of helping to identify directions for future research.

Felix Haass, Martin Ottmann. The Effect of Wartime Legacies on Electoral Mobilization after Civil War.
Journal of Politics. 84 (3): 1322-1336, 2022. PDF Data

Elections are cornerstones for societies transitioning from civil war to democracy. The success or failure of these elections is shaped by the strategies former rebels employ to mobilize voters. Of those strategies, clientelism is particularly important as it represents improved voter-elite relations over dysfunctional wartime politics but, if pervasive, also risks undermining long-term democratic consolidation. We argue that the organizational legacies of rebellion shape how rebels engage in electoral clientelism. We expect that former rebels target preelectoral benefits to areas of wartime support, rely on wartime military networks to deliver those benefits, and exploit discretionary control over peace dividends when allocating electoral benefits. We combine original geospatial data on the timing and location of over 2,000 tsunami aid projects with village-level surveys in post–civil war Aceh, Indonesia, to test these hypotheses. Results from difference-in-differences models and detailed tests of causal mechanisms are consistent with our theoretical expectations.

Alexander De Juan, Felix Haass, Jan H. Pierskalla. The partial effectiveness of indoctrination in autocracies: Evidence from a natural experiment in the German Democratic Republic.
World Politics. 73(4): 593-628, 2021. Data

Dictators depend on a committed bureaucracy to implement their policy preferences. But how do they induce loyalty and effort within their civil service? The authors study indoctrination through forced military service as a cost-effective strategy for achieving this goal. Conscription allows the regime to expose recruits, including future civil servants, to intense “political training” in a controlled environment, which should improve system engagement. To test this hypothesis, the authors analyze archival data on over 370,000 cadres from the former German Democratic Republic. Exploiting the introduction of mandatory service in the GDR in 1962 for causal identification, they find a positive effect of conscription on bureaucrats’ system engagement. Additional analyses indicate that this effect likely did not result from deep norm internalization. Findings are more compatible with the idea that political training familiarized recruits with elite preferences, allowing them to behave strategically in accordance with the rules of the game.

Felix Haass. Insurgency and Ivory: The Territorial Origins of Illicit Resource Extraction in Civil Conflicts.
Comparative Political Studies. 54(8): 1327–1361, 2021. Data

The presence of natural resources makes civil conflicts more likely to erupt, last longer, and more difficult to end. Yet rebels do not always exploit resources wherever they are present. Why? I argue that rebels extract more resources when they compete with governments over territorial authority. Territorial competition facilitates black market access, generates financial pressure, and produces governance incentives for rebels to extract natural resources. I test this proposition in a two-tiered research design. First, I show globally that moderate territorial control predicts more resource extraction by rebels. Subsequently, I focus on the example of ivory poaching which offers a rare glimpse into the usually hidden resource extraction process. I match spatially disaggregated conflict event data to subnational poaching data in conflict-affected African countries. Results show that rebels seeking territorial control substantially increase poaching rates. These findings highlight the strategic conditions under which territorial competition shapes rebel criminal behavior.

Felix Haass, Martin Ottmann. Rebels, Revenue, and Redistribution. The Political Geography of Post-Conflict Power-Sharing in Africa.
British Journal of Political Science. 51(3): 981-100, 2021. Data

Do rebel elites who gain access to political power through power-sharing reward their own ethnic constituencies after war? The authors argue that power-sharing governments serve as instruments for rebel elites to access state resources. This access allows elites to allocate state resources disproportionately to their regional power bases, particularly the settlement areas of rebel groups’ ethnic constituencies. To test this proposition, the authors link information on rebel groups in power-sharing governments in post-conflict countries in Africa to information about ethnic support for rebel organizations. They combine this information with sub-national data on ethnic groups’ settlement areas and data on night light emissions to proxy for sub-national variation in resource investments. Implementing a difference-in-differences empirical strategy, the authors show that regions with ethnic groups represented through rebels in the power-sharing government exhibit higher levels of night light emissions than regions without such representation. These findings help to reconceptualize post-conflict power-sharing arrangements as rent-generating and redistributive institutions.

Felix Haass. The Democracy Dilemma. Aid, Power-Sharing Governments, and Post-Conflict Democratization.
Conflict Management and Peace Science, 38(2): 200-223, 2021. Data

How does development aid shape democracy after civil conflicts? I argue that political aid conditionalities and the economic utility that recipient elites gain from office give rise to a rent-seeking/democracy dilemma: recipients can initiate democratic reforms but also risk uncertainty over office and rents. Or they can refuse to implement such reforms, but risk losing aid rents if donors reduce aid flows in response to failed democratic reforms. This dilemma is strongest in power-sharing cabinets. By granting rebel groups temporally limited access to the state budget, such cabinets intensify elites’ rent-seeking motives. Thus, aid-dependent power-sharing elites will hold cleaner elections, but also limit judicial independence and increase particularistic spending to simultaneously reap aid benefits and remain in power. I find statistical support for this argument using data on aid flows and power-sharing governments for all post-conflict states between 1990 and 2010.

Felix Haass, Nadine Ansorg. Better peacekeepers, better protection? Troop quality of United Nations peace operations and violence against civilians.
Journal of Peace Research, 55(6): 742–758, 2018. PDF Data

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 and 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.

Felix Haass, Martin Ottmann. Profits from Peace: The Political Economy of Power-Sharing and Corruption.
World Development, 99: 60-74, 2017. Data

Does power-sharing drive corruption in post-conflict countries? We conceptualize government elites in any post-conflict situation as rent-seeking agents who need to ensure the support of their key constituencies to remain in power. Power-sharing institutions—especially cabinet-level, executive power-sharing institutions—systematically shape these rent-seeking motives. Power-sharing cabinets create political coalitions dominated by small circles of government and rebel elites with direct access to state resources and low levels of loyalty toward the government leader. Also, the provisional nature of many power-sharing institutions increases rent-seeking incentives: facing a limited time horizon in office, rent-seeking elites within the power-sharing coalition are likely to capture as many rents as possible before they have to leave office. Thus, post-conflict countries with power-sharing institutions should exhibit higher aggregated levels of rent-seeking measured as the level of corruption in a country. In a statistical analysis of all post-conflict situations during 1996–2010, we find that power-sharing cabinets substantively increase corruption in post-conflict countries and that this effect is stronger in the presence of natural resource rents. These findings add quantitative evidence to the debate about drivers of post-conflict corruption. Moreover, they highlight a trade-off between short-term stability and long-term negative effects of corruption for post-conflict political and economic development.

Felix S. Bethke, Felix Haass, Julia Strasheim. Konjunktur des Verantwortungsbegriffs in den Resolutionen des VN- Sicherheitsrates, 1946-2015 (The Attribution of Responsibility in United Nations Security Council Resolutions, 1946-2015).
Politische Vierteljahresschrift (German Political Science Quarterly), Sonderheft 52: 287-310, 2017. Data

The United Nations use Security Council resolutions to attribute responsibility for issues of world politics either to itself or to other actors. In this article, we analyze the development of responsibility attribution over time. We evaluate whether the end of the cold war and initiatives such as the Agenda for Peace and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) influenced the prevalence of responsibility attribution in Security Council resolutions. The analysis is based on a dataset covering all resolutions published between 1946 and 2015. Using methods of quantitative text and time series analysis we document an increase of responsibility attributions through resolutions over time. However, this increase is not clearly attributable to initiatives such as the Agenda and the R2P.

Nadine Ansorg, Felix Haass, Julia Strasheim. Police reforms in peace agreements, 1975-2011: Introducing the PRPA dataset.
Journal of Peace Research, 53(4): 597–607, 2016.

This article presents new data on provisions for police reform in peace agreements (PRPA) between 1975 and 2011. The PRPA dataset complements past research on the determinants and effects of specific terms in agreements with detailed data on police reform provisions. The PRPA dataset also adds a quantitative dimension to the thus far largely qualitative literature on post-conflict security sector reform (SSR). It includes information on six subtypes of police reform: capacity, training, human rights standards, accountability, force composition and international training and monitoring. We show that there is currently a high global demand for the regulation of police reform through peace agreements: police reform provisions are now more regularly included in agreements than settlement terms that call for power-sharing or elections. We observe interesting variations in the inclusion of police reform provisions in relation to past human rights violations, regime type, or the scope of international peacekeeping prior to negotiations, and illustrate the implications of police reform provisions for the duration of post-conflict peace. Finally, we stimulate ideas on how scholars and policymakers can use the PRPA dataset in future to study new questions on post-conflict police reform.

Nadine Ansorg, Felix Haass, Julia Strasheim. Institutions for sustainable peace: From research gaps to new frontiers.
Global Governance, 19(1): 19-26 [Editor-reviewed], 2013.


Felix Haass, Julia Strasheim, Nadine Ansorg. The International Dimension of Post-conflict Police Reform.
In: Nadine Ansorg and Sabine Kurtenbach (eds.), Institutional Reforms and Peacebuilding: Change, Path-Dependency and Societal Divisions in Post-War Communities, London: Routledge, 163-190, 2016.

Julian Bergmann, Felix Haass. Institutionalisierte Ungleichheit in der Diskussion. Eine kritische Betrachtung im Lichte des Roundtables zur Theodor Eschenburg-Vorlesung 2008.
In: Volker Rittberger (ed.): Wer regiert die Welt und mit welchem Recht?, Baden Baden: Nomos: 283-292, 2009.

Policy briefs & blog posts

Alexander De Juan, Felix Haass, Jan Pierskalla. How dictators try, but ultimately fail, to create loyal bureaucrats. ECPR The Loop. 2021.

Nadine Ansorg, Felix Haass. Three Ways to Improve Multilateral Peacekeeping in Africa (and Beyond). GIGA Focus Afrika, 6, 2019.

Felix Haass. Demokratie lässt sich nicht kaufen: Friedenskonsolidierung in Afrika. GIGA Focus, 6, 2017.

Felix Haass, Sabine Kurtenbach, Julia Strasheim. Fleeing the Peace: Emigration after Civil War. GIGA Focus Global, 2, 2016.

Felix Haass, Sabine Kurtenbach, Julia Strasheim. Fleeing the Peace? Determinants of Outward Migration after Civil War. GIGA Working Paper, No 289, 2016.

Felix Haass, Martin Ottmann. Buying Peace? The Political Economy of Power-Sharing. GIGA Focus International, 9, 2015.

Nadine Ansorg, Felix Haass. Multilaterale Friedenssicherung in Afrika. GIGA Focus Afrika, 6, 2013.

Nadine Ansorg, Felix Haass, Andreas Mehler, Julia Strasheim. Institutionelle Reformen zur Friedenskonsolidierung. GIGA Focus Afrika, 6, 2012.