gunsvbutter

Research Statement

Guns or butter? Arms or allies? When seeking security in the international system, leaders face these questions. I use quantitative methods and diplomatic history to study international politics, focusing on two topics that embody the above two questions: the political economy of security and alliance politics.

To understand why I study these two topics, briefly consider my personal research trajectory. I began by studying the economics of war, focusing on how war influences an economy and how states pay for war. Through this research, I was introduced to work on the political economy of military alliances. Topics in this area include the influence of allies on a state's acquisition of internal arms, or how access to foreign markets can underpin allied cooperation (the topic on which I wrote my PhD dissertation). Studying the political economy of military alliances motivated me to better understand the politics of alliances more generally, namely alliance formation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's role in European security. Because my substantive projects forced me to rethink the methods scholars use to study these topics, I also developed new techniques and applications for quantitatively studying international relations.

When conducting research, I aim to be conceptually clear, empirically thorough, and historically attentive regarding the details and mechanisms of international politics. For example:

-- It is claimed that states internally balance. How does that work? How precisely do states convert economic wealth into military weapons?

-- It is claimed that states can use issue linkage to secure agreements. How does that work? By how much do offers of issue linkage make negotiators more likely to reach an agreement?

-- It is claimed that new democracies join international organizations (such as NATO) to commit to domestic reforms. How does that work? What precisely do the leaders of new democracies hope to gain from international organizations?

-- It is claimed that states form alliances to externally balance against threats or to signal an intention to protect an ally. How does that work? What exactly are states discussing when they attempt to form an alliance treaty?

Unpacking the processes of international politics compels a rethinking (or at least a refining) of well established claims and concepts found in the scholarly literature. To see why this is the case, please visit the below links. Each link will take you to a page where I describe my work in a specific research project.

Political Economy of Arms

Political Economy of Alliances

Politics of Alliances and International Institutions

Quantitative Methods in IR

NEW PROJECT 1: "The Approach of Danger"

NEW PROJECT 2: "Forged By War"

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