My research explores how international institutions influence human and interstate security. It builds from the premise that international and civil violence occur because relevant political actors cannot commit to ceasing violent behavior. I show that international law and organizations help actors overcome commitment problems, forgo the use of violence, and reach peaceful settlements. My recent work with Lisa Hultman and Jacob Kathman shows that UN peacekeeping troops mitigate battlefield violence in civil wars, as explained in “Beyond Keeping Peace: United Nations Effectiveness in the Midst of Fighting,” published in the November 2014 American Political Science Review. We also find that UN peacekeeping troops and police reduce violence against civilians in civil wars, demonstrated in “United Nations Peacekeeping and Civilian Protection in Civil War,” from the October 2013 American Journal of Political Science.
I received an undergraduate degree from the University of South Dakota in 1999 and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Iowa in 2005. I joined the faculty of the University of Colorado in the fall of 2014.