Is there a link between levels of terrorism and the presence of organized crime groups? Which factors does terrorism affect that could impact the presence and expansion of organized crime groups? This study aims to empirically analyze this link. Dealing with potential endogeneity bias using matching methods, we provide quantitative evidence showing that terrorist attacks increase the future levels of organized crime group activities. Using Structural Equation Modeling techniques (SEM), we also show that the main mechanisms through which this relation seems to occur are through the effects of terrorism on state capacity and state legitimacy. Thus, organized crime groups seem to take advantage of the turbulent situation created by terrorist attacks in order to expand their activities. The findings provided in this paper aim to increase our knowledge on the so-called crime-terror nexus.

Does exposure to violence affect attitudes toward peace? Civilians living in war zones see peace agreements as an opportunity to improve their security prospects. However, in multiparty conflicts, this does not automatically translate into support for peace. Support hinges on the interplay between which faction has victimized civilians in the past and which faction is sitting at the negotiation table. If civilians have been victimized by the group that is involved in the peace agreement, they will be likely to support peace. On the contrary, if they have been victimized by another faction, they will be likely to refrain from supporting peace if they believe that this can trigger retaliatory violence against them. This article explores this argument empirically in the context of the 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC; both quantitative and qualitative data yield support to the study’s theoretical expectations.

One of the most interesting interpretations made on Rawls’ theory, is the one presented by the so-called School of Arizona. This group of North-American authors such as John Tomasi, Jason Brennan or Matt Zwolinski, among others, has provided a new reach to the model of social justice proposed by John Rawls in the early 70’s. Contrary to the traditional liberal egalitarian interpretation, this group of authors believes that for a better realization of the difference principle, the solutions are the following: deregulation, clear limitation of the role of the State in the economy and the recognition of thicker economic rights to the people. First, this paper intends to analyze the main elements of the theory of this rawlsian-libertarianism. Second, to show how a rawlsian-libertarian party would act in diff erent public policies. Finally, I will show the main criticisms that can be presented to this new kind of libertarianism.

Working Papers

Kalyvas, S., Kreiman, G., & Siberdt, B. (2022). With a Bang or a Whisper? The Intensity of Civil War Onset. Under review.

How much information about a conflict is contained in its beginning? Traditionally, civil war onset has been approached as if it were interchangeable with conflict. However, onset also denotes something else: the process whereby peace gives way to war. In this understanding, civil war onset is not an outcome to be counterposed to the absence of civil war but becomes a variable: we can observe different kinds of onset and compare them to each other. We focus on one specific dimension: onset intensity. Using a novel dataset of all major civil wars covering the period 1946 to 2015, we show that conflicts vary systematically with respect to onset intensity: simply put, some start with a bang and others with a whisper. We account for this variation and find that it is associated in nonobvious ways with both a conflict’s overall intensity but also its fluctuations during its lifespan—all facets of what we describe as “dynamic intensity.” We find that onset intensity is a reasonably good predictor of the overall intensity of a conflict. Our findings challenge two widespread assumptions: that once they begin, all civil wars entail an escalation of violence; and that armed actor capacity can be safely inferred from conflict intensity. We also show that the type of conflict often serving as the baseline for most theoretical models is highly unrepresentative of the actual world of conflict. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for our understanding of the causes and dynamics of civil wars.

Kreiman, G. (2022). The Incursion of Leviathan: Wartime Territorial Control and Post-Conflict State Capacity, Evidence from Perú.

How do civil wars affect state-building decisions in the aftermath of conflict? Despite a wide literature has analyzed the impact of interstate conflict on state capacity, few studies have focused on how civil wars influence state-building measures. This paper argues that, in the post-conflict period, the state focuses its state capacity efforts to areas in which state power has eroded during wartime, with the goal of avoiding future insurgent threats. Using the Peruvian civil war (1980-1992) as the main case of study, I test whether districts that were either contested or controlled by Sendero Luminoso received higher levels of state bureaucrats and welfare expenditures than those controlled by incumbents. For this, I rely on spatial models estimators employing data for the period 1981-2007. Results support the expectations. Contested and insurgent controlled districts are targeted with the deployment of state bureaucrats and security forces after the end of the conflict, while only rebel held territories improve their level of public goods and services provision. Results are complemented with anecdotal qualitative evidence and remain robust across several robustness checks. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the inter-relation between state capacity and civil war dynamics, showing how the end of internal armed conflicts can bring improved levels of state capacity to wartime areas.

Kreiman, G. (2022). Common Enemies? Coups, Insurgent Strength & Intra-Elite Competition, Evidence from Latin America.

What is the inter-relation between coups d’etat and civil wars? While a wide set of studies have traced the determinants of internal armed conflicts and coup attempts, the interplay between these contentious processes, however, has been surprisingly unexplored. Building upon different strands of research, this article seeks to explain why, and under what conditions, some regimes experience coup attempts in the midst of civil wars while others not. I show that the occurrence of coups during civil wars is directly related to two factors: patterns of elite unity and the level of strength of rebel groups. Concretely, I posit that coup attempts in the midst of internal armed conflicts are more likely to occur when two conditions converge: when insurgents reach a medium-level of strength in situations of intra-elite competition. Key military forces, elite outsiders and certain coalition insiders, interpret this situation as an unique opportunity for changes in the distribution of power and potentially coalesce through the formation of alternative regime coalitions materialized in coups against regime structures. This argument is tested with a novel dataset on revolutionary insurgencies in Latin America formed in the Cold War era (1955-1991) and a qualitative case study of the dynamics leading to the 1976 coup d’etat in Argentina, with results supporting the theoretical expectations. These findings contribute to a more detailed understanding of the relation between coups and civil wars, opening the way for further studies on this burgeoning area of research.

Kreiman, G. (2022). Revolutionary Days: Introducing the Latin American Guerrillas Dataset (LAGD).

The last two decades have witnessed an impressive expansion in the analysis of the causes, characteristics, and consequences of internal armed conflicts. However, cross-national data on the origins, organizational features and outcomes of insurgencies at the group-level is highly limited. Despite initial step forwards in this regard during the last years, the majority of these datasets lack a processual approach that facilitates the analysis of insurgent lifecycles from the inception until the demobilization of non-state armed groups. In order to partially fill this gap, this article presents a novel dataset on guerrilla organizations that were created in Latin America during the Cold War period (1955-1991). The Latin American Guerrillas Dataset (LAGD) covers the actions of 80 insurgent organizations in 19 countries in the region, including annual level data on a variety of variables, such as level of success, preexisting organizations, combat method, ideology, rebel diplomacy, rebel governance, number of combatants, external support, level of internal cohesion, or network ties, among others. The dataset combines the development of quantitative indicators on these factors with detailed case narratives on the varying origins, evolution and pathways followed by each of the insurgencies. The LAGD represents one of the first systematic efforts of collecting comparative evidence on insurgencies operating in Latin America and should facilitate rigorous analyses on the divergent causes, characteristics and legacies of armed groups in the region from a processual perspective.

Ongoing Projects

Stage by Stage: A Processual Approach to Irregular Civil Wars.

In the Jungle or the City? Exploring Onset Location in Civil War (with Benoit Siberdt).

Can State-Building Decisions Equalize the Playing Field in the Aftermath of Civil War? Evidence from Perú (with Mar C. Espadafor).

Book Chapters

Book Reviews