Book Project: Law and Conflict
With this book project, I examine the effect of formal and informal legal institutions on civil war outcomes. For example, I consider why power-sharing agreements often fail to bring lasting peace. I argue that if former rebels and incumbents have similar views regarding legal institutions being considered "legitimate," power-sharing agreements can bring lasting peace. If, however, the former belligerents have different legal preferences, civil war is likely to recur because the legal system cannot provide a peaceful resolution of future conflicts that all parties accept. To examine this argument, I develop a legal system compatibility framework that focuses on rebel and incumbent legal preferences over particular issue domains (e.g., recognition of social diversity, property rights, source of law, and procedural justice). This theoretical framework motivates the first cross-national dyadic dataset of rebel and incumbent law from 1989-2006. Additionally, I engage in archival work to collect primary data for three case studies. To date, I have conducted several empirical analyses testing hypotheses drawn from the theoretical argument, and, in each case, I find significant support for my claims.
*This research is being generously supported by the National Science Foundation (Award #2017173)
and Rice University’s Social Sciences Research Institute.
The above photo includes pamphlets made by the FMLN and other rebel groups during the Salvadoran Civil War. It was taken during my Jan 2019 archival visit to the UCA, San Salvador, El Salvador.