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Research

Peer Reviewed Publications

9) "Recruiting Rebels: Introducing the Rebel Appeals and Incentives Dataset." Accepted and Forthcoming.   Journal of Conflict Resolution.

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Link to Replication Materials

8) Karstens, Mikaela, Michael J. Soules, and Nicholas Dietrich 2023. “A Crack in the Foundation: Event Data, Newspaper Databases, and Threats to Validity and Replicability.”  PS: Political Science and Politics. 

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7) "Thinking Outside of the Box: Transnational Terrorism in Civil Wars." Accepted and Forthcoming. International Studies Quarterly.

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Link to Replication Materials 

6) Soules, Michael J. 2022. “The Tradeoffs of Using Female Suicide Bombers.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 39 (1): 3-23.

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Link to Replication Materials 

5) Soules, Michael J. 2022 “Martyr or Mystery? Female Suicide Bombers and Information Availability.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 45 (1): 62-91.

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Link to Replication Materials 

4) Avdan, Nazli, James A. Piazza, and Michael J. Soules,. “Silver Lining? The Effects of Epidemics on Terrorist Groups.” Accepted and Forthcoming. Terrorism and Political Violence. 

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Link to Replication Materials 

3) Palmer, Glenn, Roseanne McManus, Vito D’Orazio, Michael R. Kenwick, Mikaela Karstens, Chase Bloch, Nicholas Dietrich, Kayla Khan, Kellan Ritter, and Michael J. Soules. “The MID 5 Dataset, 2011-2014: Procedures, Coding Rules, and Description. Conflict Management and Peace Science 39 (4): 470-482.

Link to MID Project Website

2) Piazza, James A. and Michael J. Soules. 2021. “Terror After the Caliphate: The Effect of ISIS Loss of Control over Population Centers on Patterns of Global Terrorism.” Security Studies 30 (1): 107-135.

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Link to Replication Materials 

1) Soules, Michael J. 2020. “Women in Uniform: The Opening of Combat Roles to Women in State Militaries.” International Interactions 46 (6): 847-871.

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Link to Replication Materials 

Working Papers

***Please do not  cite the working papers without permission.***

1) "Unhappy Campers in a Big Tent: Rebels’ Use of Diverse Recruitment Appeals and the Intractability of Civil Conflicts" Under Review. Draft Available Here.

Abstract: Do rebel groups benefit from attempting to appeal to larger segments of society by mobilizing around more diverse grievances? Prior work has examined a variety of dimensions of grievance-based recruitment in civil wars but has tended to overlook the ways in which the breadth of recruitment appeals made by rebels matters. I argue that rebel organizations actually suffer from attempts to appeal to a diversity of grievances. Specifically, when rebel organizations represent a diversity of interests, a variety of bargaining issues are exacerbated, including credible commitment problems, information asymmetries, and issue indivisibilities, rendering conflicts more intractable. Using novel data on the diversity of grievance-based recruitment appeals employed by armed groups, I find support for my argument that conflicts are less likely to resolve when rebels mobilize around a greater number of grievances.

2) Soules, Michael J. and Kathryn Howarth. "Rebel Recruitment and Terrorism in Civil War." Invited to Revise and Resubmit. Draft Available Here.

Abstract: How does forced recruitment affect rebels’ use of terrorism? We argue that groups employing forced recruitment will launch more attacks against both soft and hard targets and that these attacks will be more severe. Soft target and high casualty attacks facilitate the formation of bonds among abducted recruits, while hard target attacks involve dangerous operations for which groups are willing to sacrifice abducted recruits. Using data on terrorist tactics of rebels, we find robust evidence that groups employing forced recruitment launch more soft target attacks and inflict more casualties. We find modest evidence linking forced recruitment and hard target attacks.

3) Soules, Michael J. and Christopher Willis: "Rebel Recruitment Tactics and Repertoires of Violence." Under Review. Draft Available Here.

Abstract: The conventional wisdom is that militant organizations that rely more on ideological appeals, relative to material incentives, for recruitment, will be more restrained in their treatment of civilians on a variety of dimensions. However, in this paper, we argue that greater reliance on ideological appeals will be associated with restraint in the use of some forms of violence, but not others. We expect that because of normative commitments, institutional constraints, and internal cohesion, ideologically driven rebels will be less likely to engage in sexual violence. However, for the same reasons, we also expect that ideologically committed recruits are often motivated to perpetrate other forms of lethal and non-lethal, non-sexual violence. As a result, ideologically motivated recruits will be more likely to employ repertories of violence that show restraint in the use of sexual violence, but not other forms of abuse. Using novel data on the recruitment practices of rebel groups across the world, we find evidence for our argument.

4) "Women’s Status and the Sex Gap in Support for Political Violence." Under Review. Draft Available Here.

Abstract: An extensive body of literature investigates the sex gap in support for political violence, examining why women, on average, are less supportive of political violence than men. One strand of research posits that higher levels of societal sex equality will reduce the gap in support for political violence between women and men. However, other scholarship discusses how men sometimes become more supportive of political violence to curtail increasing women’s empowerment. Thus, the effects of sex equality on the sex gap in support for political violence are disputed. To assess these competing hypotheses, I employ data from the World Values Survey to examine how the interaction of individuals’ sex and the levels of sex equality in the countries in which they reside affect their support for political violence. I find that the gap in support for political violence between women and men widens as women’s overall status in society increases.

5) "The Magical Practices of Rebel Organizations," with Nazli Avdan. Draft Available Here.

Abstract: Magical practices, such as wearing protective amulets, engagement in other rituals, and beliefs that rebel leaders wield magical powers, play a prominent role in many civil wars. Scholars believe that these practices help shape the behaviors of militant organizations on a variety of dimensions. However, despite their relevance, there is a dearth of data and quantitative analysis on the effects of rebel groups’ use of such magical practices. In response to this gap, we have gathered new data on some of the magical practices employed by 106 African rebel organizations that were active at least at some point during the period of 1989 to 2011. To demonstrate the value of these data, we use them to examine how such practices affect the recruitment of child soldiers and the killing of civilians. We find that militant organizations that employ magical practices engage more extensively in the forced recruitment of children and kill more civilians.

6) "Convincing Them to Fight: How Rebel Groups Choose Their Recruitment Tactics." Draft Available Here.

Abstract: Why do some rebel groups rely heavily on material incentives for recruitment, while others depend more on ideological appeals? Much of the literature tends to focus on differences in the recruitment tactics between “resource rich” and “resource poor” rebels. In this research note, I investigate how the material and ideological resources available to rebel groups, and their long-term goals, shape their recruitment strategies. I seek to expand our theoretical understanding of rebel recruitment by examining the effects of different types of material resources, not just the presence of absence of such wealth. However, I argue that groups also have agency in formulating their recruitment strategies and that such choices are not based entirely on available economic and social resources. Specifically, I analyze how militants’ long-term goals affect their recruitment. Using novel data on the persuasive recruitment strategies of over 220 rebel groups active across the world, I find strong evidence that groups that exploit a greater breadth of natural resources are more likely to recruit with material incentives. However, I find that while lootable resources affect recruitment patterns, non-lootable resources do not. Surprisingly, I do not find clear evidence that existing ethnic and religious ties help facilitate ideological-based recruitment. Finally, the results indicate that rebel movements with secessionist aims are more likely to rely on ideological-based recruitment strategies. Thus, this note uses novel data to provide nuance to our understanding of how material and social resources affect the recruitment strategies of rebel organizations.

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