Selected Working Papers
Repressive Agent Defections: How Power, Cost, and Uncertainty Lead to Military Defections
Autocratic leaders are often presented with the incentive to repress to deter mobilization from presenting a realistic threat to their power. However, leaders are unable to carry out repression alone and therefore must rely on repressive agents who have the ability to shirk their duties and risk the leader being removed from power. In the paper, I use a formal model to analyze the situation under which military defections are likely to occur. Given that they occur most often when it is perceived that the leader is desperate for power, I also include a model that looks at how the leader can use repression as a signal to distort the agents ability to predict what type of leader she is dealing with. Depending on the costs and benefits related to repression, the amount of power the leader has plays an important role in determining his use of repression, specifically, in regards to preventing defections by the military. However, at times the desired repression rate is unfeasible due to its cost and the leader is faced with military defections and the risk of removal.
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Human Rights Organizations, Mobilized Dissent, and Incentives to (Not) Repress
Previous Research has failed to consider the indirect effects that HRO strategies may have on state repression. Specifically, HROs use strategies in attempts to deter leaders from using repression, but these strategies may present leaders with the incentive to increase repression, such as increasing the rate of mobilization within a country. However, if HROs can overcome certain obstacles, they can change the incentives of the state, leading to a decrease in the effect mobilized dissent has on repression. Using this logic, I consider these relationships and find both direct and indirect effects that HROs and mobilized dissent have on state repression. Contrary to the spiral proces or boomrang effect, proposed by Keck and Sikkink (1998) and Risse and Sikkink 1999, I show that HRO activities do not lead to an increase in human rights but merely acts as a mediator to decrease the increasing effect mobilized dissent has on repression.
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Human Rights Organizations and the Termination of Repression
Human right organizations (HROs) attempt to reduce government repression by applying pressure through domestic participation and naming and shaming. Findings on the relationship between HRO activities and repression are complex. Some scholars have shown that strategies such as naming and shaming do not lead to a reduction in the countries repression levels, whereas others have shown that when HROs are present domestic opposition grows and increases the pressure on the government to change. However, these findings do not take into consideration the onset, duration, and termination of repression. Using data on repression spells, I seek to explain how HROs affect each of these processes differently as an attempt to better understand the relationship between HRO advocacy and repression. In general, HROs are reactive to repression, especially in naming and shaming, therefore HROs should not play a significant role in deterring repression. Conversely, because of the reactive nature, once repression onset occurs HRO activity should reduce the duration and lead to the termination of repression.