conflict and crime

[6] Community policing does not build citizen trust in police or reduce crime in the Global South. (with Graeme Blair, et al.)
Science, 2021, 374(6571): pp. 1046-1047. drawing drawing drawing drawing

Abstract Is it possible to reduce crime without exacerbating adversarial relationships between police and citizens? Community policing is a celebrated reform with that aim, which is now adopted on six continents. However, the evidence base is limited, studying reform components in isolation in a limited set of countries, and remaining largely silent on citizen-police trust. We designed six field experiments with Global South police agencies to study locally designed models of community policing using coordinated measures of crime and the attitudes and behaviors of citizens and police. In a preregistered meta-analysis, we found that these interventions led to mixed implementation, largely failed to improve citizen-police relations, and did not reduce crime. Societies may need to implement structural changes first for incremental police reforms such as community policing to succeed.

[5] Contested Ground: Disentangling Material and Symbolic Attachment to Disputed Territory. (with Devorah Manekin, Tamar Mitts)
Political Science Research and Methods, 2019, 7(4): pp. 679-697. drawing drawing drawing drawing

Abstract Territorial disputes are prone to conflict because of the value of territory to publics, whether due to its strategic and material worth, or to its intangible, symbolic value. Yet despite the implications of the distinction for both theory and policy, empirically disentangling the material from the symbolic has posed formidable methodological challenges. We propose a set of tools for assessing the nature of individual territorial attachment, drawing on a series of survey experiments in Israel. Using these tools, we find that a substantial segment of the Jewish population is attached to the disputed West Bank territory for intangible reasons, consisting not only of far-right voters but also of voters of moderate-right and centrist parties. This distribution considerably narrows the bargaining space of leaders regardless of coalitional configurations. Our empirical analysis thus illustrates how the distribution of territorial preferences in the domestic population can have powerful implications for conflict and its resolution.

[4] Border Walls and Smuggling Spillovers. (with Anna Getmanskyn, Austin L. Wright)
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 2019, 14(3): pp. 329-347. drawing drawing drawing

Abstract A growing number of states are erecting physical barriers along their borders to stem the illicit flow of goods and people. Though border fortification policies are both controversial and politically salient, their distributional consequences remain largely unexplored. We study the impact of a border wall project on smuggling in Israel. We use the initial phase of the wall construction to causally estimate spillover effects on cross-border smuggling, especially vehicle theft. We find a large decrease in smuggling of stolen vehicles in protected towns and a similar substantial increase in not-yet-protected towns. For some protected towns, fortification also arbitrarily increased the length of smuggling routes. These township-level shocks further deterred smuggling (6% per kilometer). Our findings suggest that border fortification may have uneven distributional consequences, creating unintended winners and losers.

[3] How Sanctions Affect Public Opinion in Target Countries: Experimental Evidence from Israel. (with Devorah Manekin, Yotam Margalit)
Comparative Political Studies, 2018, 51(14): pp. 1823–1857. drawing drawing

Abstract How do economic sanctions affect the political attitudes of individuals in targeted countries? Do they reduce or increase support for policy change? Are targeted, "smart" sanctions more effective in generating public support? Despite the importance of these questions for understanding the effectiveness of sanctions, they have received little systematic attention. We address them drawing on original data from Israel, where the threat of economic sanctions has sparked a contentious policy debate. We first examine the political effects of the European Union’s (EU) 2015 decision to label goods produced in the West Bank, and then expand our analysis by employing a survey experiment that allows us to test the differential impact of sanction type and sender identity. We find that the EU’s decision produced a backlash effect, increasing support for hardline policies and raising hostility toward Europe. Our findings further reveal that individuals are likely to support concessions only in the most extreme and unlikely of circumstances—a comprehensive boycott imposed by a sender perceived as a key strategic ally. These results offer theoretical and policy implications for the study of the effects of economic sanctions.

[2] The Political Legacies Of Combat: Attitudes Towards War And Peace Among Israeli Ex-Combatants. (with Devorah Manekin, Dan Miodownik)
International Organizationrnal, 2015, 69(4): pp. 981–1009. drawing drawing drawing

Abstract Recent research has highlighted combat's positive effects for political behavior, but it is unclear whether they extend to attitudes toward the conflict itself. We exploit the assignment of health rankings determining combat eligibility in the Israel Defense Forces to examine the effect of combat exposure on support for peaceful conflict resolution. Given the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to global affairs, and its apparent intractability, the political consequences of combat become all the more pressing. We find that exposure to combat hardens attitudes toward the rival and reduces support for negotiation and compromise. Importantly, these attitudes translate into voting behavior: combatants are likely to vote for more hawkish parties. These findings call for caution in emphasizing the benign effects of combat and underscore the importance of reintegrating combatants during the transition from conflict to peace.

[1] Courage to Refuse. (with Rami Kaplan)
Peace Review, 2006, 18(2): pp. 189-197. drawing drawing