Wednesday, September 4 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40/ Speaker: BRANDON VALERIANO, University of Glasgow / Discussant: Patrick James, USC /
This paper summarizes and connects our various divergent cyber conflict research projectsto present a complete picture of the dynamics, theories, and scope of cyber operations in the digital age. We first examine the scope of cyber operations and who uses the tactic against whom. We then study the impact of cyber operations on conflict and cooperation dynamics with a goal of understanding the foreign policy dynamics of cyber conflict. Finally, we contrast a system of justice in cyber operations where the continued limited use of the tactic is the goal with divergent notions of offensive cyber actions. This paper will provide a comprehensive investigation of cyber conflict, a tactic some suggest will change the future of international interactions. We are much more measured in our reactions to the tactic and suggest while it will be an important tool, it will be restrained in its use by states and more likely represent method of information warfare rather than direct combat.
Wednesday, September 11 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40 / Speaker: YUSAKU HORIUCHI, Dartmouth College / Guest Chair: Saori Katada, USC / Discussant: Scott Wilbur, USC /
The postwar rise of Japan is one of the most dramatic cases of rapid economic development in modern history. While most studies attribute Japan’s growth to domestic institutions and policies, this study argues that it depended upon unique international circumstances; in particular, Japan’s close security relationship with the United States. Using a recently developed statistical tool – the synthetic control method – we show that the acceleration of Japan’s growth coincided with the consolidation of the U.S.-Japan alliance. We corroborate these results with historical evidence that reveals how the alliance put Japan in a privileged economic position.
Wednesday, September 25 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40 / Speaker: PETER DOMBROWSKI, U.S. Naval War College/ Discussant: Matt Gratias, USC/
Theorists of war from Clausewitz to Beaufre and beyond have recognized that the first duty of a political leader, general officer and civilian strategist is to recognize the nature of the conflicts at hand. Over the last two decades, all three groups have struggled to understand the impact of cyberspace on conflict and war. International relations scholars have likewise explored the how cyberspace affects world politics. This chapter will build upon recent research examining how cyberspace is affecting global conflict and the nature of interstate relations in the coming decades. The intent is to help scholars analyze how cyberspace is changing international relations and practitioners to understand the types of war they must wage today and in the future.
Monday, September 30 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40 / Speaker: DEBORAH BRAUTIGAM, John Hopkins University / Guest Chair: Carol Wise, USC
What role does China play in the recent rush for land acquisition in Africa? Conventional wisdom suggests a large role for the Chinese government and its firms. Our research suggests the opposite. Land acquisitions by Chinese companies have so far been quite limited, and focused on production for African consumption. This talk traces the evolution of strategy and incentives for Chinese agricultural engagement in Africa, and examines more closely several of the more well-known cases, sorting out the myths and the realities.
Wednesday, October 2/ 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40/ Speaker: PHILIP POTTER, University of Michigan / Discussant: Cyrus Mohammadian, USC/
Certain types of militant groups are prone to indiscriminate violence—those suffering from leadership deficits. These deficits exacerbate the principal-agent problem between leaders and foot soldiers, who have stronger incentives to attack civilians. We establish the validity of this proposition with a tripartite research strategy that balances generalizability and identification. First, we demonstrate in a sample of over a hundred militant organizations operating in the Middle East and North Africa that those lacking centralized leadership are more likely to target civilians. Civilian targeting is equally prevalent when leaders are impeded from communicating tactical instructions to the rank and file. Second, we show that when the leaderships of militant groups are degraded from drone strikes in the Afghanistan-Pakistan tribal regions, the selectivity of organizational violence plummets. Third, we elucidate the mechanism with a detailed case study of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Palestinian group that turned to terrorism during the Second Intifada because decapitation strikes empowered low level members with incentives to attack civilians. These findings indicate that a lack of principal control is an important, underappreciated cause of militant group violence against civilians.
Wednesday, October 23 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: TBA / Speakers: PETER KATZENSTEIN, Cornell University & STEPHEN NELSON, Northwestern University / Discussant: Mariano Bertucci, USC/
The distinction between uncertainty and risk, originally drawn by Frank Knight and John Maynard Keynes in the 1920s, remains of fundamental importance today. In the first part of the article we explain the origins of the concept of uncertainty and how it was criticized and subsequently evolved into a single, dominant model of decision making upon which the dominant risk-based theories of finance and economic policymaking were subsequently built. We argue instead that in the presence of uncertainty market actors and economic policymakers substitute other methods of decision making for rational calculation; specifically, actors’ decisions are rooted in social conventions. The second half of the article provides illustrative evidence, drawn from innovations in financial markets and deliberations among top American monetary authorities in the years before the crisis. The evidence is substantial enough to support the article’s central claim: economic actors and policymakers live in worlds of risk and uncertainty. And in that world social conventions deserve much greater attention than conventional IPE analyses accords them. Such conventions, we conclude, must be part of our toolkit as we seek to understand the preferences and strategies of economic and political actors.
Thursday, October 31 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40 / Speaker: YONATAN LUPU, George Washington University / Discussant: Gloria Koo, USC/
What are the effects of membership in intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)? Existing work has shown that IGO membership leads to interest convergence and reductions in the likelihood of conflict. The traditional approach to theorizing and empirically testing the effect of IGOs has been to adopt a dyadic model of IGO ties. In these models, the key independent variable is the number of IGO memberships shared by a pair of states. In our view, this approach is too narrow: to fully understand the effects of IGO membership, scholars need to consider both the dyadic and the extra-dyadic effects of shared IGO membership. We argue that these extra-dyadic (or network-level) effects play an important role in helping IGOs to transmit information and cultivate shared norms among larger aggregations of states. We refer to groups of states that share many similar IGO memberships as IGO communities. Within these communities, members' interests will converge and members will be less likely to experience conflict, and these effects are independent of states' dyadic IGO ties alone. We systematically measure and define the communities within the IGO network. We find robust empirical support for our theory that the mechanisms of IGO socialization and conflict reduction have significant effects at the extra-dyadic level.
Wednesday, November 6 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40 / Speaker: JOSHUA KERTZER, Dartmouth College & Harvard University / Guest Chair: Brian Rathbun, USC/
Why do some leaders and publics display remarkable persistence in war, while others “cut and run” at the ﬁrst sign of trouble? Although resolve is one of the most frequently used independent variables in International Relations, used to explain everything from developments on the battleﬁeld to deliberations at the bargaining table to decisions at the ballot box, we have very little sense of why some actors are more resolved than others. I argue that resolve is an interaction between situational stakes and dispositional traits; by pointing to a series of dispositional characteristics frequently studied in a growing body of research on willpower in behavioral economics and social psychology (time and risk preferences, honor orientations, and trait self-control), I disaggregate the costs of war and explain why certain types of actors are more sensitive to the costs of ﬁghting, while others are more sensitive to the costs of backing down. I test this argument at the micro-level with laboratory and survey experiments, and at the macro-level with Boolean statistical analyses of great power military interventions from 1946-2003.
Thursday, November 14 / 12:30pm - 2:00pm / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40/ Speaker: NORRIN RIPSMAN, Northern Illinois University /Discussant: Eric Hamilton, USC /
This talk is based on a book MS, Top-Down Peacemaking, which explores the sources of peace between regional rivals. With detailed case studies of the processes leading to the Franco-German, Egyptian-Israeii, and Israeli-Jordanian peace treaties, it explores whether peacemaking is driven by states (for realpolitik or regime survival reasons) or societies (for economic, normative or other reasons). It finds that successful peace agreements are produced by statist considerations -- often over societal objections. Nonetheless, for peace agreements to endure governmental/regime change, these top-down settlements need to be socialized within the belligerent societies after the fact.
Wednesday, December 4 / Location: Social Sciences Building, Room B40/ Speaker: MARK BOYER, University of Connecticut / Discussant: Scott Wilbur, USC /
Climate change is the signature global issue of our time. Adapting to Climate Change examines climate change from the local to the global. Although much of the public discussion of climate change in the United States, and around the world, focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the imperative for communities to adapt to the real challenges presented by climate change is sometimes lost in that debate. That is, until events like Katrina or Sandy devastate a region and climate realities are hammered home in quick fashion. Adapting to Climate Change is one of the first systematic analyses of local and regional policy efforts on climate adaptation. Drawing on policy data collected from municipalities in Connecticut and extensive elite interview data across the northeastern policy community, Boyer ably shows how localities are grappling with this global problem. Stories of climate adaptation are accessible through the rich collected data, all the while underpinned with significant conceptual insights. By appealing to global scholars, town officials, and the environmental policy community, Adapting to Climate Change helps advance our understanding of what is working, what is not, and where communities might go in coping with climate change in the coming decades.
LINK TO VIDEO ARCHIVE OF PAST EVENTS