Dissertation Project:

"From the Bush to the Barracks: The Wartime Roots of Military Obedience and Defiance in Insurgent-Ruled States"

 The National Archives in Harare, Zimbabwe

The National Archives in Harare, Zimbabwe

My dissertation explores why some winning rebel movements build states with strong civilian regime control over national military forces, while others do not. I argue that insurgent armies face a difficult bargaining problem after seizing state power: new political rulers have incentives to renege on their past promises to armed supporters, which in turn creates incentives for military field commanders to retain irregular armed networks outside of formal command structures. I theorize that the decision-making calculus of field commanders during the war-to-incumbency transition is shaped by the nature of the wartime institutions developed by insurgents during the armed struggle. In particular, when insurgent commanders develop strong social and political capital within local communities during war, including through service provision and collaboration with community leaders, this capital can be leveraged by commanders to retain their autonomy and resist oversight by civilian rulers. By contrast, where field commanders' linkages to local communities are weak, autonomous mobilization resources will be unavailable to individual commanders in the post-war period and civilian rulers can more effectively sanction and control the behavior of military elements. The dissertation draws on interviews and archival research in Zimbabwe and Côte d'Ivoire, as well as an original survey of community leaders in over ninety localities controlled by the Forces Nouvelles (FN) insurgent group in northern Côte d'Ivoire.

 The Cultural Center in the city of Korhogo, Côte d'Ivoire. 

The Cultural Center in the city of Korhogo, Côte d'Ivoire. 

I am indebted to the Fulbright Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the MIT Center for International Studies, the Bridging the Gap Project Summer Fellowship, and MIT GOV/LAB for supporting my dissertation research. 

 

 

 

Supplementary materials:

 

Other Projects:

"South African Councillor Panel Study" (with Evan Lieberman and Nina McMurry). Link to project website.

"The Politics of Rebel Authority in Postwar States: Theory and Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire" (with Giulia Piccolino and Jeremy Speight)