Aila Matanock, Professor

Closed (1) Post-Conflict Contexts

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

This research project examines civil conflict and related crime, as well as what effect peace agreements and interventions have on these phenomena.

This research project examines when and why peace agreements and international interventions occur empirically and what effects they have. We will also be doing some focused work on cases such as an intervention by the U.N. in Guatemala (CICIG).

Research assistants will be asked to work on multiple aspects of this project, and should be self-motivated. Specific tasks may include: (1) compiling and cleaning data using simple rules, (2) doing data analysis tasks in Stata, (3) reading, translating, and summarizing notes, (4) gathering and processing information available on the internet or in government documents, (5) otherwise participating in these research projects such as gathering and checking citations.

Students will learn how to conduct social science research. Research meetings will discuss topic such as how to formulate hypotheses, operationalize variables, collect data, and empirically test theories.

Qualifications: Applicants should have an interest in conflict and international intervention, as well as more broadly in research. Knowledge of a statistical package and related (ideally Stata but advanced Excel, R, or others) is an plus. Spanish proficiency is also a bonus. Self-motivation and regular check-ins online are required.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Virtual

Closed (2) Inviting Intervention

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

This research project examines how and why foreign intervention occurs by domestic invitation, as well as to what effect these invited interventions have on the rule of law.

Intervention by invitation is increasingly used by intergovernmental organizations pooling resources to deal with transnational concerns. The treaties that enact these agreements are an understudied innovation in stabilizing weak countries.

This research project will examine when and why governance delegation agreements occur empirically, as well as what effects they have. We will also be doing some focused work on cases in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Research assistants will be asked to work on data collection on Sub-Saharan Africa, including specific tasks such as: (1) gathering and processing information available on the internet or in government documents, (2) compiling and cleaning data using simple rules on particular countries, and (3) otherwise participating in these research projects.

Students will learn how to conduct social science research. We will regularly discuss how to formulate hypotheses, operationalize variables, collect data, and empirically test theories. We hope to find enthusiastic members of the team.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Andrew Wojtanik, Graduate Student

Qualifications: Applicants should have an interest in conflict and international intervention, as well as more broadly in research. They will also learn a lot about particular states in Sub-Saharan Africa, so particular interest would be a plus. Knowledge of statistical packages and related (e.g., Excel, Stata, R, and others) is helpful but not necessary. Online attendance at regular one-hour meetings is required.

Weekly Hours: 9-11 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Virtual

Closed (3) Program on Security Institutions and Violent Instability (Constitutional Legal Frameworks)

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

(This is one of three pieces of a collaborative project between Professors Arriola, Matanock, and Mattes.) Countries around the world are increasingly confronting violent irregular threats such as insurgencies and terrorism. Yet, many countries have proven unable to effectively deploy their security institutions (including regular militaries, paramilitaries, and police) when responding to such threats even if they have sufficient resources at their disposal. For example, while resource-poor Ethiopia has managed to mobilize its forces to successfully prevent most attacks within its borders by Al-Shabaab, the Somali jihadist terrorist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, oil-rich Nigeria has repeatedly failed to coordinate its forces in preventing further attacks from a comparable threat, Boko Haram, the Islamist group linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Our project, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Defense, is designed to explain why some states’ security institutions are more effective than others. To shed light on this question we will collect a dataset on the design of domestic security institutions across 102 developing countries and conduct detailed comparative case studies on six paired countries: Colombia and Mexico; Ethiopia and Nigeria; and Myanmar and the Philippines.

This part of the project will be focused on assessing how the institutions in various countries fit together. We will be examining constitutions from countries around the world to understand what the legal framework for the security institutions, answering questions such as whether the military is allowed to respond to domestic terrorist and insurgency, how the police are structured, and whether there are coordinating bodies. The laws underpinning the security institutions are, of course, a crucial set of variables for this project.

Undergraduate research apprentices will contribute to the project in the following ways:
1) Using primary documents, specifically constitutions and their amendments, they will gather detailed information on the legal frameworks establishing and governing the security institutions. They will be assigned countries around the world. (The vast majority of these constitutions are in English, but a few are only available in French or Spanish, so please note language skills in your application – see below.)
2) Working as a team, they will also be helping to check and refine our understanding of these legal frameworks.

The apprenticeship is designed to expose undergraduate students to how rigorous social science research is done. Undergraduate research assistants will learn about how to collect and process data that can then be used for statistical analysis and how to conduct detailed comparative case studies. Substantively, undergraduate research assistants will learn more about the variation that exists in countries’ domestic security institutions and how this might explain why some countries are better at fighting violent threats than others.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Oren Samet-Marram, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: These tasks will entail careful research, good communication, and good writing skills for short summaries. Spanish or French skills are useful but not at all necessary (please note if you speak either language in your application).

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Virtual