Publications

  • 2021
    American Political Science Review

    A large literature suggests that the presence of refugees is associated with greater risk of conflict. We argue that the positive effects of…

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    The United States appears to have reached an inflection point in its relationship with the rest of the world. On the one hand, a new administration is eager to reengage with both allies and competitors, reasserting the role of global leader that the United States has claimed since World War II. On the other hand, something has changed. Former partners, made wary by indications of US withdrawal from the global stage, no longer look to the United States for leadership. Current adversaries, emboldened by apparent US apathy toward their breaching of international norms, are no longer cowed into restraint.

  • 2021
    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    Five days after the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic, the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project at Princeton University began cataloging misinformation efforts surrounding the spread of the coronavirus in collaboration with Microsoft Research. Our initial goal was to support industry efforts to limit the spread of false narratives about the pandemic, and we realized that categorizing the stories we found in a systematic way and making the data public could contribute to a much broader understanding of trends in COVID-19 misinformation.

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    How did the United States leverage local partners in the fight against the Islamic State? What were the unique dynamics of partnering with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, particularly the Women’s Protection Units? What can this case teach us about warfare, will, and relationships?

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    What would a conflict with China look like? How will irregular warfare fit into a conflict before and during large-scale combat operations? Retired Admiral James Stavridis and Elliot Ackerman join this episode of the Irregular Warfare Podcast to discuss the theme of escalation to large-scale conflict, which they explore in their New York Times best seller 2034: A Novel of the Next World War. In answering those questions, they emphasize the nature of human behavior in conflict and how escalation can get out of control.

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    In episode 26 of the Irregular Warfare Podcast, we discuss US counterinsurgency efforts in Anbar province, Iraq from the 2006 surge through the rise of the Islamic State in 2013–2014 with two guests who both experienced the US COIN fight firsthand—one as the operational commander of Marine Corps forces in the province and the other as a civilian advisor to Marine leadership on Anbari culture and tribal dynamics.

     

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    How can the military and civilians work together to prevent or manage conflict? Two seminal policy initiatives, the Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) and the Global Fragility Act (GFA), provide important answers by emphasizing an alignment of defense, development, and diplomatic efforts and delineating clear roles for respective actors in addressing violence and instability.

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    Aviation has played an important role in irregular warfare, from its use by the British against rebellious tribesmen in Iraq and Transjordan in the interwar period to the era of the unblinking eye and precision strike in Afghanistan. Our guests discuss this evolution in the use of airpower to support ground forces, illustrating that although rapid advances in technology have brought to the point of near perfection the various procedures recently employed in Afghanistan and Iraq, the role of aviation in war—irregular or otherwise—has not significantly changed to this point. 

  • 2021
    ESOC Working Paper Series

    Conflict forces millions of individuals from their homes each year. Using a simple structural model and new refugee data, we produce the first set…

  • 2021
    Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    Since 2015, there has been a huge increase in laws that ostensibly seek to counter misinformation. Since the pandemic began, this trend has only…

  • 2021
    International Crisis Group

    Africa is especially vulnerable to climate change, as millions are already experiencing record heat, extreme precipitation and rising sea levels.…

  • 2021
    International Crisis Group

    A study of social media content shows that Venezuelan opposition figures often take harder anti-government lines if they flee abroad. Exiles’ voices are important, but those trying to end Venezuela’s crisis should listen to others as well, recalling that compromise offers the only peaceful exit.

  • 2021
    Empirical Studies of Conflict Project

    These data summarize 82 studies published since 1995 related to the effects of influence operations. We included studies that meet three inclusion criteria: (1) a treatment, or source of variation in exposure to influence operation-like content; (2) a clearly measured outcome of interest; and (3) credibly evaluable insight on the potential of influence operations to affect real-world outcomes and behaviors.

  • 2021
    Empirical Studies of Conflict Project

    These data summarize 221 studies published since 1978 related to countermeasures designed to combat influence operations. We include studies which met four inclusion criteria: (1) a source of variation in exposure to the countermeasure; (2) a clearly defined outcome of interest for some specified population; (3) relevance to thinking about the potential of an intervention to impact real-world behavior; and (4) enough detail to evaluate the credibility of the findings.

  • 2021
    Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review

    Did fact-checking organizations scale up efforts to debunk misinformation in 2020? Did Twitter users engage more with fact-checking in 2020 than in previous years? Did engagement with coronavirus-related content drive overall engagement with fact-checking content?

     

  • 2021
    ESOC Working Paper Series

    This paper provides evidence that adverse economic conditions contributed to the rise of anti-democratic extremism in the United States. A state-level analysis shows that increases in the unemployment rate during the Great Recession led to a large increase in the number of anti democratic extremist groups.

  • 2021
    Foreign Affairs

    China, it is often said, has mastered the art of economic statecraft. Observers routinely worry that by throwing around its ever-growing economic weight, the country is managing to buy goodwill and influence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing has exploited its dominance of manufacturing supply chains to win favor by donating masks and now vaccines to foreign countries. And it has long used unfair state subsidies to tilt the playing field in favor of Chinese companies.

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    Irregular warfare practitioners have played a major role in nearly every war over the past 250 years, according to the guests on this episode. The masters of irregular warfare carry distinct characteristics that have allowed them to achieve strategic effects, even while losing tactical level engagements.

    This episode explores the capabilities that irregular warfare practitioners bring to bear. Our guests discuss how irregular warfare integrates into—and often plays a pivotal supporting role in—broader conventional conflict. The conversation ends with recommendations for how to prepare and employ irregular warfare capabilities to address the major threats to US national security, to include great power rivals, rogue regional powers, and violent nonstate actors.

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    Special Operations Forces (SOF) have played a critical role in US counterterrorism operations. But now, as policymakers’ focus shifts from counterterrorism to great power competition, the implications for SOF are unclear. In this episode, our guests argue that SOF is uniquely suited to address irregular warfare challenges in the era of great power competition. However, limited understanding of these threats among policymakers in Washington, DC, budget constraints, and outdated authorities hinder SOF’s ability to evolve. According to our guests, civilian leadership and oversight can help overcome these challenges.

  • 2021
    Modern War Institute

    What drives illicit violence by substate groups such as terrorists, insurgents, and criminals—and how can states counter these threats? Our two guests argue that social science provides tools to understand why illicit violence occurs. By focusing on individual incentive structures, rather than group identity labels, states can develop targeted sanctions and military strategies that disassemble and disrupt violent nonstate groups. This approach has implications for how policymakers and practitioners can counter violent actors from the strategic to the tactical level. Our guests provide several examples from the Treasury Department’s counter–threat finance efforts during the post-9/11 era.