Police Reform and Police Violence

Book Manuscript:

My book project focuses on understanding how changes in the police in two key dimensions (militarization and accountability) in the aftermath of internal violent conflict can contribute to the reduction of police and criminal violence. I posit that relatively militarized police have a higher propensity to use violence, regardless of their accountability level, which increases criminal violence as a response. I test my theoretical propositions on a sample of 52 post-conflict countries for the period 1985-2015. The results reveal that militarization is a powerful driver of police violence, whereas accountability only reduces police violence at low levels of militarization. To explore the causal mechanisms underpinning my argument, I conducted field work in South Africa in 2015 and 2017.

Working Papers:

"Police reforms in post-conflict contexts and implications for violence reduction" 

"Criminal Violence as a Response to Police Violence, the South African Case"

"Gendarmes and Soldiers: Exploring Drivers of Police and Military Specialization during Civil Wars" (with Peter White)

"Attitudes Towards Police Militarization in Brazil" (with Abby Cordova)

"Public Opinion Support for Police Violence: Experimental Evidence" (with Veronica Perez, Juan Albarracin,  and Leslie MacColman)

"Mall Cop or Robocop? Political Determinants of Police Militarization in Brazil" (with Juan Albarracin)



Transitional Justice and Criminal Violence


Why do some countries exhibit very high levels of criminal violence following a transition to democracy whereas others do not? Combinining quantitative analyses with qualitative case studies, this collaborative project argues that countries that engaged in transitional justice processes during their democratic transitions dramatically changed their future trends in criminal violence by removing, exposing, and punishing perpetrators (with Guillermo Trejo and Juan Albarracín):

Peer Reviewed Publications:

"Breaking State Impunity in Authoritarian Regimes"  Journal of Peace Research, 55(6):787-809.


Work in progress:

Book manuscript in preparation

Diffusion of Democracy


This collaborative project explores the multiple pathways through which democracy diffuses. We focus in particular on colonial, neighbor, and trade networks. Using data from V-Dem, we analyze the effect of these networks on democratic diffusion (with Michael Coppedge, Staffan I. Lindberg, and Ben Denison). 


"International Influence: The Hidden Dimension,'' Varieties of Democracy Institute: Working Paper No. 119. May 2021 with Michael Coppedge, Benjamin Denison, Paul Friesen and Yang Xu 

"Varieties of Democratic Diusion: Colonial Networks," Varieties of Democracy Institute: Working Paper No. 2. March 2015 with Michael Coppedge and Stafan I. Lindberg