I use experiments and field research to study the causes and consequences of violence – and what we can do about them. I work primarily in Nigeria and South Africa, often in partnership with government, civil society, or international organizations.

 
 

Armed conflict and violent extremism

How does armed conflict shape civilian attitudes and behaviors? What is different about conflicts involving violent extremist groups? What role do natural resources play in armed conflict?

“Demonstrating genuine change increases victim’s willingness to reconcile with transgressors: Experimental evidence from Nigeria.” 2020. With Rebecca Littman, Rebecca Wolfe, Mohammed Bukar, Jiyoung Kim, Yunusa Aina, Yetcha Ajimi Badu, Fatima Abba Kurama, and Ahmed Umar Lawan.

“Do commodity price shocks cause armed conflict? Evidence from a meta-analysis.” 2020. Under review. With Darin Christensen and Aaron Rudkin.
PDF  Appendices  Preanalysis plan

“How does armed conflict shape investment? Evidence from the mining sector.” 2020. Revision requested, Journal of Politics. With Darin Christensen and Valerie Wirtschafter.
PDF  Appendices

“Explaining support for combatants during wartime: A survey experiment in Afghanistan.” American Political Science Review, 2013. With Jason Lyall and Kosuke Imai.
PDF   MPSA Pi Sigma Alpha Award   Replication

“Poverty and support for militant politics: Evidence from Pakistan.” American Journal of Political Science, 2013. With Christine Fair, Neil Malhotra, and Jacob N. Shapiro.
PDF   Replication   Appendices

A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.
Recording audio messages about reintegration at the Kanem-FM radio studio in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
 

Crime and policing

Can community policing reduce crime and build trust in police?

Crime, Insecurity, and Community Policing: Evidence on Building Trust. Book manuscript in preparation. Lead author with Fotini Christia, Jeremy Weinstein, Eric Arias, Emile Badran, Robert A. Blair, Ali Cheema, Thiemo Fetzer, Guy Grossman, Dotan Haim, Rebecca Hanson, Ali Hasanain, Ben Kachero, Dorothy Kronick, Benjamin Morse, Robert Muggah, Matthew Nanes, Tara Slough, Nico Ravanilla, Jacob N. Shapiro, Barbara Silva, Pedro C. L. Souza, Lily Tsai, and Anna Wilke.
Metaketa project

“Building Trusted, Effective Police in the Global South: Evidence on Community Policing from Six Coordinated Field Experiments.” Working paper. Lead author with Fotini Christia, Jeremy Weinstein, Eric Arias, Emile Badran, Robert A. Blair, Ali Cheema, Thiemo Fetzer, Guy Grossman, Dotan Haim, Rebecca Hanson, Ali Hasanain, Ben Kachero, Dorothy Kronick, Benjamin Morse, Robert Muggah, Matthew Nanes, Tara Slough, Nico Ravanilla, Jacob N. Shapiro, Barbara Silva, Pedro C. L. Souza, Lily Tsai, and Anna Wilke.
Metaketa project   Preanalysis plan

 

Encouraging prosocial behaviors

How can we encourage and sustain prosocial citizen behaviors to reduce conflict and improve governance?

“Religious Leaders Can Change Minds and Shift Norms.” 2020. Under review. With Mohammed Bukar, Rebecca Littman, Elizabeth Nugent, Rebecca Wolfe, Benjamin Crisman, Anthony Etim, and Chad Hazlett.

“Motivating the adoption of new community-minded behaviors: An empirical test in Nigeria.” Science Advances, 2019. With Rebecca Littman and Elizabeth Levy Paluck.
PDF   Project   Policy brief   Replication   Preanalysis plan   Appendices

Water of Gold film poster
Poster for feature film we produced for the treatment in the Science Advances paper.
 

Improving research designs

How can we improve our research designs before we implement them? How do we know if we have selected a good research design?

BITSS Leamer-Rosenthal Prize; SIPS Commendation

Research Design: Declaration, Diagnosis, and Redesign. Under advance contract, Princeton University Press. With Jasper Cooper, Alexander Coppock, and Macartan Humphreys.

“Declaring and diagnosing research designs.” American Political Science Review, 2019. With Jasper Cooper, Alexander Coppock, Macartan Humphreys.
PDF   Replication   Appendices

“Experiments in Multiple Contexts.” In Donald P. Green and James Druckman, Handbook of Experimental Political Science, forthcoming, Cambridge University Press. With Gwyneth McClendon.
PDF

Research tools

Polmeth Statistical Software Award

“DeclareDesign: Declare and Diagnose Research Designs.” R package. With Jasper Cooper, Alexander Coppock, Macartan Humphreys, and Neal Fultz.
Web   Cheatsheet

“estimatr: Fast Estimators for Design-Based Inference.” R package. With Jasper Cooper, Alexander Coppock, Macartan Humphreys, and Luke Sonnet.
Web   Cheatsheet

“fabricatr: Imagine Your Data Before You Collect It.” R package. With Jasper Cooper, Alexander Coppock, Macartan Humphreys, Aaron Rudkin, and Neal Fultz.
Web

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Describing a research design in code using DeclareDesign.
 

Sensitivity bias in surveys

Do survey respondents answer sensitive questions truthfully? What can we do if they do not?

“When to Worry About Sensitivity Bias: A Social Reference Theory and Evidence from 30 Years of List Experiments.” Forthcoming, American Political Science Review. With Alexander Coppock and Margaret Moor.
PDF  Appendices

“List experiments with measurement error.” Political Analysis, 2019. With Winston Chou and Kosuke Imai.
PDF  Replication

“Design and analysis of the randomized response technique.” Journal of the American Statistical Association, 2015. With Kosuke Imai, Yang-Yang Zhou.
PDF   Replication

“Comparing and combining list and endorsement experiments: Evidence from Afghanistan.” American Journal of Political Science, 2014. With Kosuke Imai and Jason Lyall.
PDF   Replication

“Statistical analysis of list experiments.” Political Analysis, 2012. With Kosuke Imai.
PDF   Replication   Appendices

Research tools

“list: Statistical Methods for the Item Count Technique and List Experiment.” R package. With Kosuke Imai.
Web

“rr: Statistical Methods for the Randomized Response Technique.” R package. With Yang-Yang Zhou and Kosuke Imai.
Web

A generic square placeholder image with rounded corners in a figure.
Conducting surveys about Boko Haram in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
 

Teaching and advising


Prospective graduate students: I actively advise and collaborate with graduate students in the political science Ph.D. program at UCLA. Our department, like most in political science, does not admit students to work with specific faculty. Admissions decisions are made by a committee, which I am not currently sitting on. However, you are welcome to mention my name in your personal statement in order to ensure it is sent to me during the admission process. I encourage you to read the excellent advice on Ph.D. admissions by Chris Blattman and Macartan Humphreys. Following the example of Betsy Paluck, I no longer have personal conversations with prospective students, in order to avoid favoring students who have received advice to connect with faculty or who have connections with my colleagues. If you are admitted, I will be eager to talk about working with you at UCLA.

POL SCI 50: Comparative Politics (undergraduate lecture). Winter 2017, 2018, 2020.

I am part of the cross-university teaching collaboration Democratic Erosion. The last third of POL SCI 50 focuses on democratic erosion from a comparative perspective.

POL SCI 200E: Experimental Design for Social Science (Ph.D. seminar). Fall 2016, Winter 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020. Syllabus

POL SCI 240a/b: Comparative Politics Field Seminar (Ph.D. seminar). Fall-Winter 2016-17, 2019-20. Syllabus

Improving Designs in the Social Sciences (Ph.D. workshop), 2016-2018 (Co-convener)

Politics of Order and Development Lab (Ph.D. workshop), 2018- (Co-convener)