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Spring 2023 Schedule

March 24th (2PM CST)

Jerry Urtuzuastigui and Ore Koren

Indiana University

"Targeted Sanctions, Resource Substitution, and Violence Against Civilians: Localized Evidence from African States"


Since the 1990s, the UN Security Council has markedly increased its use of targeted sanctions against actors involved in intrastate conflict. Yet, we know very little about their unintended impacts, especially when it comes to the risk of violence against civilians. Assessing the effect of targeted sanctions on local violence dynamics, this study provides important insights on these trends. We begin by theorizing whether and when imposing resource-constraining sanctions on armed actors may compel them to locate and seize non-sanctioned valuable agricultural resources for the purposes of replenishing lost revenues. Empirically, we develop new data on violence by sanctioned groups by matching UN sanction data with information on local attacks on civilians recorded by the UCDP GED across the entire African continent. We then leverage newly released 0.5-degree data to examine how monthly cash crop productivity affected political violence patterns between 2006 and 2013, comparing violence against civilian trends by sanctioned actors to those by unsanctioned and extra-sanctioned (i.e., sanctioned actors before and after they are sanctioned) actors. In line with our expectations, we confirm a substitution dynamic whereby violence by sanctioned groups intensifies in lo- cations where and following months when valuable agricultural resources are abundant, while violence by unsanctioned and extra-sanctioned groups does not. These results are robust to key confounders and numerous sensitivity analyses.

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March 31st (2PM CST)

Konstantin Ash

University of Central Florida

"History and Support for Settlement of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine"


How does collective memory of historical events affect public preferences for settling ongoing international conflict? Russia's invasion of Ukraine allows for an assessment of public opinion on blame for the conflict and support for different ways to end the war. Moreover, history played a considerable role in the propaganda efforts of both sides leading up to and during the war. This study uses a pre-registered survey experiment of Ukrainians in the regions of the country not controlled by Russia or engaged in fighting in late May and early June 2022. Respondents were randomly assigned one of three primes about historical events: the UPA insurgency against the USSR, the Holodomor famine and Ukrainian service in the Red Army during World War II and then asked about their support for several concessions to Russia, whether they thought the Ukrainian military could win outright and who they blamed for the conflict. The pre-registered expectations were that priming on UPA and Holodomor would decrease support for peaceful settlement and increase support for seeking outright military victory, while priming on World War II would have no effect. Respondents primed with the UPA insurgency were significantly less likely to support making Russian a second language or conceding either Donbas or Crimea to Russia to settle the conflict. Respondents primed with Ukrainian service in the Red Army during World War II were not significantly more likely to make concessions and significantly more likely to blame the Russian government and the Russian people for the conflict. The treatment effects are not significantly related to family history with the events, suggesting collective, rather than personal, memories drive the results. The findings underscore the relevance of historical narratives in shaping public support for seeking either compromise or military victory in an international conflict.

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April 14th (2PM CST)

Jonathan Pinckney, Subindra Bogati, Titik Firawati, and Ches Thurber

Horizons Project, Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative, Northern Illinois University

"Why Civil Resistance Improves Inclusive Democracy"


Nonviolent civil resistance campaigns have a well-documented positive effect on democracy. Yet this relationship has been primarily based on measures of liberal or electoral democracy. The impact of civil resistance on egalitarian democracy, particularly the inclusion in state power and resources of historically excluded groups, has been less examined. This paper tests the hypotheses that initiating a political transition through civil resistance will advance gender, class, and ethnic inclusion relative to other transition modes. Using cross-national data on egalitarianism and exclusion from the Varieties of Democracy project, we find that civil resistance transitions (CRTs) produce gains in inclusion along all three of these dimensions greater than those observed in non-civil resistance transitions. Furthermore, we find that participation by marginalized groups in the civil resistance campaign leads to further advances in inclusion. Our findings indicate that civil resistance may be a powerful force for promoting the inclusion of the historically marginalized.

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April 28th (10AM CST) 

Roundtable: "Bridging the Gap: Connecting Peace Science Research and Policy"

Join the OPSC and Bridging the Gap for a discussion of modern policy challenges and opportunities for engagement. This roundtable will address how the Peace Science community’s research is relevant for today’s policymakers and suggest avenues for connecting the two communities.

Featuring Danielle Gilbert (United States Air Force Academy), Chelsea Estancona (University of South Carolina), Emily Ritter (Vanderbilt Univerity), and Naazneen Barma (University of Denver).

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April 28th (2PM CST)

Xin Nong

University of Texas at Austin

"Succession Norms and Autocratic Survival: Evidence from Ancient China"


Can succession norms promote autocratic survival? We argue that the institutionalization of vertical succession norms narrows the candidate pool by excluding brothers and cousins from potential rightful successors, which facilitates coordination among the elite and increases the likelihood of agreeing on a successor. Using a novel dataset covering 357 monarchs in 17 states in ancient China during the Spring-Autumn and Warring States eras, we find that the institutionalization of vertical succession norms reduces monarchs' risk of being deposed by the elite. To address the concern of endogeneity, we exploit the ancestral distance of states' founding fathers to the royal families of previous dynasties as an instrumental variable. We further provide evidence that the institutionalization of succession norms works through moderating the adverse effect of elite competition on monarchs’ tenure.

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May 12th (2PM CST)

Zoe Xincheng Ge

New York University

"Empowered by Information Dissemination: Disease Outbreak Reporting at the WHO"


How can international organizations (IOs) with limited resources facilitate cooperation from states? Information disseminated by IOs to their members empowers IOs to facilitate deeper cooperation than what their capacity permits. I investigate the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in facilitating states' cooperation with the reporting of disease outbreaks. After the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, the WHO was authorized by the International Health Regulations (IHR) reform to disseminate outbreak information to the international community without waiting for states to confirm first. When states' attempt to conceal diseases leads to the dissemination of outbreak information by the WHO, states anticipate trade and travel restrictions imposed by the international community ex post. Hence, those who might have been reluctant to disclose do so now more frequently. This is especially true for countries with weak linkages to the international community, where those restrictions might bind more tightly. Using the number of Disease Outbreak News (DONs) to measure states' cooperation and linkages to the different countries to proxy for linkages to the community, I find that states with weak political alignment with the U.S. and its allies have fewer DONs reports before the reform, confirming the existence of outbreak concealment. The reform increased the number of reports from those previously uncooperative states.

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