Published Research

Staying Quartered: Civilian Uprisings and Military Disobedience in the Twenty-First Century

Comparative Political Studies 2014

This is a multination study of military disobedience in the face of presidential orders to suppress civilian uprisings. Rather than coercively manipulating the government or seizing power themselves, these insubordinate armies prefer to remain quartered. To determine why, the authors draw on rational, ideational, and structural analytical perspectives on military behavior. The study deploys a qualitative case study method of analysis, identifying seven positive cases (disobedience) and then contrasting those with three negative cases (obedience) to discern whether there is a collection of causal agents that can discriminate between these sets. It finds that disobedience grows out of material grievances, stronger affiliation with public as opposed to government interests, rejection of internal public order roles, illegalities, and splits within the services.

What’s Past is Prologue: Civil War Violence and Post-War Criminal Homicides

Civil Wars 2023

Stathis Kalyvas (2006; 35) writes that civil wars ‘are notorious for being a past that won’t go away’. This means that although war may be over, its ramifications continue to shape the political present. This paper focuses on one such 10
dynamic: the connection between civil war violence and post-war criminal homicides. In investigating this nexus, we discovered the following: 1) civil war violence intensity increases the level of criminal homicides, 2) the increased
presence of armed groups increases criminal homicides, and 3) these two types of violence are both associated with criminal homicides three, five, and ten 15 years later. We utilise statistical regression analysis to test our hypotheses on
subnational data from 1,100 municipalities in Colombia drawn from Registro Único de Víctimas, Colombian National Police, Colombian National Administrative Department of Statistics, Colombian National Department of Planning, and Centre Q3 for Memory and History from 2010–2018.

What factors drive trust in police after civil wars: the case of Colombia

International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 2023

We know that civil wars have negative and long-term consequences for public trust in state institutions. However, few studies have examined the post-peace challenges of rebuilding trust in state institutions. In this study, we utilise the case of Colombia to explore the impact of civil wars on the institutional trust of the police. We find that perspectives on abuse, punishment, and corruption are significant predictors of trust in the Colombian police. Further, we find that when we test all three phenomena together, perceptions of police abuse and experience with bribery are the key drivers of trust of police in Colombia.

Trust of demobilized combatants: Overcoming fear or becoming familiar?

Social Science Quarterly 2023

One critical challenge facing postconflict societies concerns the reintegration of former combatants as productive members of society. Public trust in the legitimacy of a peace agreement is a critical component of rebuilding the economic and social foundations of a war‐torn nation. We argue that the levels of trust of former combatants and confidence in their effective demobilization depend on two critical features of the postconflict environment: fears of insecurity and community engagement. We focus our analysis on Colombia and utilize data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project to create a multivariate time‐series analysis of public trust in two groups—leftist rebels and rightist paramilitaries. We find that both the fear of former combatants and the level of engagement individuals have in their communities help predict respondent attitudes about trust in former.

Explaining the American Crisis of Policing: Media, Malfeasance, and Racial Prejudice

Social Science Quarterly 2021

Democratic theory emphasizes equality as an essential feature for a representative democracy.  Equality itself implies racial equality, economic equality, gender equality, and most important equality before the law.  Police are theoretically the upholders of the rule of law (O’Donnell 2004).  When police engage in malfeasant practices in communities of color, and when those stories are reaffirmed and confirmed by media outlets, cynicism is more likely to take hold.  This cynicism is a disease that depresses mobilization, voter turnout, political efficacy, and willingness to cooperate with government officials. In the absence of legitimacy, citizens are less likely to cooperate with the police, which only serves to undermine law enforcement’s ability do their job (Tyler et al.  2015; Burch 2013; McCarthy et al., 2020).  Cynicism towards police is dangerous prospect for democracy.  We are living that danger in 2020.  For instance, on August 12, 2020 Gallup noted that confidence in police is at an all-time low with only 48% of respondents trusting the police (Otiz 2020).  

The specter haunting American race relations and democratic progress are related to the crisis of confidence in American policing exhibited by the Gallup polls.  Thus, an important question asks What explains the crisis of confidence in American police?  Further, what role does race, experience with police, and reporting of police abuse by media outlets impact individual’s perception of police performance?  In this paper, we seek to address each question.  We find that for Asian, Black, and Latino respondents, excessive use of force, police malfeasance and media reports of malfeasance were significantly correlated with a decrease in the perceived quality of police performance. To test these relationships, we use the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) and data on police malfeasance in 2016 collected from the CATO institute.

Born to Run:  Where Rebel Parties Participate in Post-Conflict Local Elections

Journal of Elections, Public Opinions and Parties 2021

Where do newly formed rebel parties run their candidates for local elections?  Most work on rebel parties examines the factors that explain rebel party success on the national level.  However, few studies look at where rebel parties run candidates in elections and at the local level. We develop a dataset to analyze the activity of FARC (Fuerzas Alternative Revolucionaria del Común) in the 2019 local elections in Colombia. Using both a Firth Logit regression and  Zero-Inflated Negative Binomial model, we found that former rebel parties are more likely to candidates in locations where they have had a historical presence, where ideologically similar parties also ran candidates,  where there is a larger field of candidates, and in areas with less institutionalized elections.  

Perceived police performance, racial experiences,and trust in local government

Politics, Groups and Identity 2020

Given the continued revelation of police abuses of racial-ethnic minorities in America, it is of the utmost importance for scholars to focus on questions of how police conduct is related to minority political behavior, in particular their trust in local government. In this paper, we find evidence that both egotropic and sociotropic insecurity and experiences with police have a significant correlation with confidence in local government. The effects of both victimization and negative interactions with police have a substantive association with the ways that communities of color perceive their local government. Combining data from the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) and contextual data from the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI crime statistics, and “Mapping Police Violence” project, we use maximum likelihood to examine how police conduct, personal experiences with the police, and neighborhood conditions correlate with individuals’ trust in local government.

The Impact of Law Enforcement Centralisation and Professionalisation on Public Opinion of the Mexican Police

Journal of Politics in Latin America 2020

Pandemic violence and criminality are anathema to a democratic society. And yet, in Latin America, both operate side by side. Illicit activity has propagated precisely because the democratic states of the region have been ineffective at establishing and maintaining the rule of law via public security mechanisms like the police. This ineffectiveness has significant consequences for public support of police forces. Hence, an important question for students of state-building and democratisation is: What factors explain public perceptions of the police? We argue that police forces that are local and unprofessional will be less trusted and viewed as less effective than their more centralised and professional counterparts of state and federal police. In short, we find that centralisation and professionalisation mitigate the impact of crime victimisation and police corruption on the public opinion of the police in Mexico. These findings are drawn from an analysis of the National Survey of Victimisation and Perceptions of Public Security (ENVIPE) in Mexico for 2012 and 2018.

The relationship between crime victimization, corruption, and public attitudes of Mexico’s armed forces

Democracy and Security 2018

This paper studies the relationship between self-reported crime victimization, perceptions of corruption, and attitude of Mexico’s armed forces. We find that perceptions of corruption along with individual and state-level factors are important predictors of support for Mexico’s Army and Navy. While crime and violence have had a tremendous impact on Mexican society, crime victimization does not seem to undermine public support for the armed forces. In contrast, corruption in these institutions does undermine support. Given the historical and contemporary significance of the armed forces, this research has significant implications for the role of the coercive apparatus of the Mexican state.

Peacekeeping and civil–military relations in Uruguay

Defense and Security Analysis 2020

There have been over 90,000 UN peacekeepers deployed around the world to 78 peacekeeping operations (PKOs) in over 125 countries since 1948. Some scholars have made the case that these missions have had a positive impact on the relationship between the military and the civilians they work for. However, other scholars have identified a negative impact on civil military relations (CMR). This paper contributes to this debate by investigating how peacekeeping has impacted civil-military relations in Latin America’s most prolific contributor to peacekeeping: Uruguay. This paper finds that PKOs in Uruguay have facilitated post-transitions attempts by civilians to build first- generation control, but not second-generation control. Further, PKOs have marginally improved military effectiveness, but we find that they do not improve societal trust in the armed forces.

Closing the Gap Between Law Enforcement and National Security Intelligence: Comparative Approaches

Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 2018

On August 2017, 13 people died in an Islamic State (ISIS) attack in Barcelona. Although in different countries, perpetrated by various means, and for different purposes, these attacks have one thing in common: the responders are the police. In confronting twenty-first-century terrorism, the police are on the front lines of national security issues. But they are not alone. To preempt attacks each country’s intelligence community (IC) strives to gather information on security threats. Although both the police and intelligence agencies are tasked with protecting the state, property, and citizens, they often fail to collaborate on these goals. And yet, bridging the gap between the two is necessary for assuring safety. Scholars and practitioners of intelligence have long sought ways to bridge that gap. How and when can police forces be used to enhance national security intelligence? What factors increase the likelihood of success (or failure) in utilizing the police as intelligence collectors? Four critical factors determine the successful integration of the police into the intelligence cycle: 1. the structure of law enforcement regimes; 2. how police are trained; 3. the strategic outlook police apply to intelligence gathering; and 4. the degree of embeddedness of police agencies in the overall intelligence framework.

Violence, Trust, and Public Support for the Colombian Peace Agreement

Social Science Quarterly 2020

As peace agreements have increasingly been put to a popular vote in places such as Northern Ireland, South Sudan, and Colombia, there is a corresponding practical and theoretical interest in understanding what factors influence public opinion toward the peace?We contend that support for peace in Colombia, as in other postwar contexts, is most powerfully shaped by individuals’ assessments of two critical factors—the level of violence experienced and trust in the conflict actors. More specifically, we hypothesize that greater experience with violence by the conflict actors and greater levels of trust regarding these actors are the critical dimensions of support for peace. Methods.  We use a regression model of support for the Colombian peace agreement more generally, as well as voters’ intentions regarding the peace agreement vote. Results.  We find that support for peace is most heavily dependent on contextual violence and trust. However, those who most trusted the conflict actors were among those least likely to indicate they intended to vote, which may help explain why the peace referendum failed. Conclusion.  Maintaining public support for the Colombian peace agreement will depend on rebuilding trust and providing government security and assistance in previously marginalized areas.

Movement of the people: Violence and internal displacement

International Area Studies Review 2020

Individuals internally displaced by conflict are a prominent feature of wars, political violence and other forms of repression. We suggest that a subnational analysis of internally displaced person (IDP) generation can help us determine the extent to which more specific flight-precipitating factors can account for individuals’ behaviors. In particular, we are interested in how different conflict actors and the interactions of these actors affect the production of internally displaced persons. We suggest that some types of conflict actors are more likely to be responsible for greater numbers of internally displaced persons because of their political strategies. We focus on one of the most complex and yet data-rich environments in which the problem of internal displacement has been profound—Colombia. Using extensive data on internally displaced persons in Colombia among its over 1100 municipalities, we examine our expectations using negative binomial analyses to better understand the dynamics of conflict actors, the violence they perpetrate and internal displacement. We find that the identity of the conflict actor does make a difference in producing more internally displaced persons and that conflict between certain conflict actors is especially likely to produce more displaced persons.

Self Advertised Military Missions in Latin America: What is Disclosed and Why

Journal of Military and Political Sociology 2013

In the age of the internet, Latin American militaries use web sites to advertise many of the missions they conduct. What are their motivations for doing so? This study conducts a region-wide analysis of Army operations in twelve Latin American countries. It seeks explanations for why missions have been showcased by drawing on three well-known general conceptualizations of the armed forces: classical professional, societal and corporatist. From each is derived a separate, plausible account for why the military might be motivated to publicize its actions. The study finds that the corporatist approach offers the most convincing explanation followed by the classic professional approach, with the societal model making the weaker case.