Carnegie Mellon University

Jacob Shapiro, "Explaining Local Intensity in Intrastate Conflict: Why Mechanisms Matter"

Thursday, January 30, 2014, 4:30-5:30pm, Margaret Morrison A14

There are tremendous local difference in violence within all intrastate conflicts. Some places suffer grievously while neighboring areas remain largely untouched and these differences can flip over time. Understanding that variance is critical for both science and policy. In particular, evaluating the affects of various policies on local conflict outcomes provides an opportunity to learn what governments can do to reduce violence and alleviate suffering. Using evidence from studies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and the Philippines, as well as internal documents from insurgent and terrorist organizations, provide a range of evidence suggesting that non-combatants' decisions are the critical factor in many places. But civilians decisions do not always matter in the ways we tend to think; the key decision is not whether to participate on one side or the other. Rather, it is the extent to which non-combatants make small individual decisions to share information with the stronger side.

Jacob N. Shapiro is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and co-directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. His research focuses on political violence, economic and political development in conflict zones, and security policy. He is author of The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations. His research has been published or is forthcoming in broad range of academic and policy journals including American Journal of Political Science, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Organization, International Security, Journal of Political Economy, and World Politics as well as a number of edited volumes. Shapiro is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an Associate Editor of World Politics, a Faculty Fellow of the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS), a Research Fellow at the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP), and served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. Ph.D. Political Science, M.A. Economics, Stanford University. B.A. Political Science, University of Michigan.

Sponsored by the Center for International Relations and Politics.