War and Nationalism: Evidence from World War I and the Rise of the Nazi Party
(with Alexander De Juan, Felix Haass, Sascha Riaz, Thomas Tichelbäcker), under review
Do wars breed nationalism? We investigate this question in the context of the rise of the Nazi party after World War 1. We argue that civilian exposure to war fatalities can trigger psychological processes that reinforce hostility towards war opponents, increase identification with the nation, and thereby strengthen support for nationalist parties. We test this argument using a novel individual-level dataset of all 8.6 million German soldiers who were wounded or died in WW1. Our empirical strategy leverages plausibly exogenous variation in the county-level death rate---the share of dead soldiers among all war casualties (dead and wounded). We find that throughout the interwar period, electoral support for nationalist parties, including the NSDAP, was about 2 percentage points higher in counties with a high death rate. Drawing on data on Nazi autobiographies, NSDAP party entries, and war memorials, we provide additional evidence in support of our theoretical argument.
Link to paper: https://osf.io/ubeky
The Social and Political Legacies of Wartime Sexual Violence: New Evidence from List Experiments in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sri Lanka
(with Richard Traunmüller), under review
Wartime sexual violence is widespread across conflict zones and thought to leave a disastrous legacy for survivors, communities and nations. Yet, systematic studies on i) the prevalence and ii) the social and political consequences of wartime sexual violence are fraught with severe data limitations. Based on original individual-level survey evidence from three conflict-affected populations in Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sri Lanka, we make two contributions: First, we demonstrate the potential of list experiments for overcoming under-reporting bias and estimating population-based prevalence rates of sexual violence. Second, we estimate the effect of sexual violence on key outcomes of social and political development: civic participation, interethnic relations, and political trust. Across all three populations, exposure to wartime sexual violence increases civic participation. While interethnic relations remain largely unaffected, the impact on political trust varies across contexts. This cumulative evidence suggests that survivors are more resilient to wartime sexual violence than acknowledged in prior research and policy interventions.
Link to paper: https://doi.org/10.35188/UNU-WIDER/2022/142-6
Wartime Sexual Violence and Social and Political Resilience: Micro-Level Theory, Evidence and Implications
(with Summer Lindsey), under review
What are the social and political implications of sexual violence in civil wars? This paper advances a theory of social and political mobilization among survivors and their households that underscores the value that people place on integration in their communities. We use an original population-based survey in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to evaluate the theory in relation to an alternative hypothesis of continued social and political exclusion. Analyses using list experiment measures of wartime sexual violence show that survivor-households engage in increased levels of social and political activities at the local level. However, findings do not hold when using conventional direct measures of wartime sexual violence. The differential findings underscore the need to theorize and account for dynamics of survey disclosure when examining the relationship between social outcomes and sensitive behaviors such as sexual violence.
Can Reconstruction Programs Improve Political Perceptions in Conflict Contexts? Evidence from Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo
(with Eva Wegner, Miquel Pellicer and Alexander De Juan), forthcoming in South African Journal of Economics
Aid agencies argue that development interventions can improve people’s attitudes towards the state. The underlying principle draws on classic arguments of the welfare state and suggests that when people’s access to public services such as health care, education, clean water and infrastructure improves, the output legitimacy of the state increases. Hence, the more state institutions are involved in planning and implementing aid activities, the more will people credit the state for the resulting socio-economic benefits. We test the effects of development aid on political perceptions in the context of a large-scale reconstruction program in eastern regions of the DRC. Relying on a regression discontinuity design, we compare beneficiary villages with those that would have benefited from aid projects but were narrowly rejected due to budgetary constraints. While we find that the program has produced tangible socio-economic effects, benefits have not translated into improvements of people’s political attitudes towards state institutions. To the contrary, project villages display slightly more negative attitudes than control villages. Auxiliary analyses explore the determinants of this unexpected findings and suggest that villages with aid projects encourage predatory behavior of state agents and thereby undermine potentially positive effects.
Link to paper: https://tinyurl.com/2p8uxnue
Female Leaders, Regime Type and Public Goods Provision
This article starts with the observation that the share of women in parliaments has increased steadily over the last decades worldwide. Apart from the descriptive representation of women, do more women in parliament substantively affect public policy more generally? And if so how? Drawing on a rich literature that suggests women to be more prosocial than men on average, we argue that a higher share of women in parliaments increases the salience of other-regarding preferences in the legislative arena. By extension, this manifests in higher degrees of public goods policies. We refine our argument suggesting that this effect is conditional on a state’s regime type. We test our arguments with a mixed-method design. First, using time-series cross-sectional data we find that up from a share of 10%, female MPs make a substantive difference in increasing public (as opposed to private) goods provision. We also find that this effect depends on regime type and only works in democracies. Second, we use coarsened exact matching to select two cases along a most-similar systems design. The quantitative analysis lends strong support to our argument and thereby contributes to filling a gap in the literature on the substantive impact of women in politics.