WORKING PAPERS Parochial Altruism in Civil Society Leaders: Legacies of Contested Governance (under review) Recipient of the Ralph Bunche Best Graduate Student Paper - 2018, from the African Politics Conference Group, an organized section of the American Political Science Association. Pre-Analysis Plan.
International donors funnel significant aid to local civil society organizations (CSOs) to facilitate post-conflict democratization, but research fails to consider how war shapes the attitudes and behaviors of organization leadership. I theorize how wartime uncertainty generated by contested governance produces parochial altruism among CSO leaders. Parochial altruism emerges because wartime uncertainty leads civil society leaders to keep resources for themselves. Discrimination emerges because rebel takeover exacerbates existing cleavages, inducing civil society leaders to discriminate against outgroups. To test this theory, I leverage geographic variation in rebel control within Côte d’Ivoire through lab-in-the-field games. I find that CSO leaders who lived under contested governance are less altruistic and more discriminatory than their counterparts under continuous government control. I provide suggestive evidence of the mechanism drawn from interviews and survey data. These findings complicate our expectations for post-conflict democratization by providing greater understanding of the impact of relying on war-traumatized CSO leaders.
Civic Education in Violent Elections: Influencing Voter Fears and Perceptions,with Leonardo Arriola, Aila Matanock, Manuela Travaglianti Pre-Analysis Plan Experiment 1 & Pre-Analysis Plan Experiment 2. Civic education programs in democratizing countries are intended to positively affect citizens’ attitudes and behaviors toward electoral competition. But the impact of such programs are not well understood in violence-affected countries. We claim that civic education programs in violent contexts can prime fear by inducing citizens to become more aware of prevailing political conditions, resulting in perceptions of unsafe voting conditions and increased support for political violence. We assess these claims in Côte d’Ivoire, where elections are regularly marred by violence. A field experiment shows that exposure to civic education induces voters to express greater fear of, and support for, political violence. A survey experiment refines these findings by showing that peace and rights-based messaging decreases support for political violence, particularly when delivered by the national electoral commission rather than local or international organizations. Our findings suggest the importance of carefully crafting civic education approaches to mitigate unintended negative consequences. Trauma Exposure vs. Trauma Response: A Review of the Impact of Violence on Post-Conflict Outcomes, with Biz Herman
This paper presents a systematic review of the literature on trauma and its consequences in post-conflict and forced migration settings. Studies vary in whether they examine trauma exposure—the experience of living through an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury—or trauma response—the range of psychophysiological responses that emerge after trauma exposure. In this systematic review, we examine how different conceptualizations of trauma exposure and trauma response in conflict- and forced migration-affected populations produce consistent or disparate results across 164 papers. We examine variations in case selection, measurements used, identification strategy, and outcomes observed. This review comprehensively looks at the state of the emerging literature on the micro-level causes and consequences of violence, and offers paths forward in the conceptualization and measurement of trauma in studies seeking to better understand sociopolitical outcomes in trauma-affected populations.
Social Media and Electoral Violence: Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire, with Irene Morse Despite the prevalence of election violence across the globe, use of social media in countries that have experienced or are expected to experience election-related violence has yet to be systematically investigated. This paper aims to fill this gap in our understanding of popular narratives around violent elections. We ask: how do partisans use social media in the run up to elections in contexts of violence? To answer this question, we conduct computational text analysis on over 1.4 million posts from 171 public groups supporting major political candidates on Facebook in Côte d’Ivoire from 2019-2020. We demonstrate that discussions of violence-related topics are more prevalent among opposition supporting groups. Opposition supporters are not only more likely to discuss violence, they are also more likely to use hostile, xenophobic, and incendiary language, and are more likely to describe specific episodes of violence than incumbent supporters. Alarmingly, we find that violence-related topics are associated with more shares on Facebook. We show how leveraging social media can provide insight into the processes underpinning the use of and support for violence in elections