Research

Peer Reviewed Publications

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

5) 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. Accepted and Forthcoming. Conflict Management and Peace Science.

Link to MID Project Website

4) 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.

Link to Article

Link to Replication Materials 

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

Link to Article

Link to Replication Materials 

2) Soules, Michael J. 2020. “The Tradeoffs of Using Female Suicide Bombers.” Accepted and Forthcoming. Conflict Management and Peace Science.

Link to Article

Link to Replication Materials 

1) Soules, Michael J. 2019. “Martyr or Mystery? Female Suicide Bombers and Information Availability.” Accepted and Forthcoming.  Studies in Conflict and Terrorism.

Link to Article 

Link to Replication Materials 

Working Papers

 

5) "Fighting to the Bitter End: Rebel Recruitment Tactics and Civil War Outcomes" Job Market Paper.

Abstract: How do recruitment tactics affect the longevity and success of rebel groups in civil wars? The conventional wisdom holds that recruitment strategies relying more on ideological appeals, relative to material incentives, will attract more committed recruits who are more invested in the success of their groups than their materially motivated counterparts. However, I argue that highly committed recruits provide rebel organizations with a double-edged sword, as the most devoted militants will be less willing to compromise with governments and can spark internal clashes over ideological issues. From this standpoint, the effects of recruitment practices on the fate of rebel organizations are unclear. To add clarity to this debate, I introduce novel data on the persuasive recruitment practices of all African rebel groups that operated between 1989 and 2011. I find that while groups that rely more on ideological appeals than material incentives for recruitment survive longer, they are not more likely to achieve their goals. This paper makes an important theoretical contribution by highlighting the drawbacks of ideologically based recruitment strategies and an empirical contribution by introducing novel data on rebel recruitment tactics.

Link to Manuscript

4) Karstens, Mikaela, Michael J. Soules, and Nicholas Dietrich. “A Crack in the Foundation: Event Data, Newspaper Databases, and Threats to Validity and Replicability.” Under Review

Abstract: News databases, such as Factiva and Nexis-Uni, are vital for the construction of many commonly used datasets of political events, as they provide researchers with access to thousands of diverse news sources. In this paper, we raise several issues with news databases that pose a threat to the quality and replicability of data collection efforts. We offer recommendations for best practices for using news databases to gather event data.

3) "Thinking Outside of the Box: Transnational Terrorism in Civil Wars." Under Review

Abstract: Scholars have written on the extensive risks that transnational terrorism poses for militant groups that perpetrate such attacks. However, despite these risks, transnational terrorism has become a prominent feature of many recent civil wars. This raises the question: why do rebel groups launch transnational terrorist attacks outside of the countries they are fighting civil wars in? I argue that weaker rebel groups are more inclined to turn to such tactics because they are desperate, and as a result, are willing to make the gamble in order to signal their strength and resolve, highlight governments’ weaknesses, place pressures on foreign governments, attract media attention and recruits, and avoid direct military confrontation with government security forces. Using data on the transnational terrorist attack patterns of all rebel groups present in the Uppsala Conflict Data Project (UCDP) Dyadic Dataset from 1970 - 2013, I find that conventionally weak rebel groups are more likely to rely on transnational terrorism.

 

 

2) Avdan, Nazli, Michael J. Soules, and James A. Piazza. “Targeting the Vulnerable: Internally Displaced Populations and Sexual Violence in Civil Wars.”

Abstract: Scholars and policy commentators frequently note the vulnerability of internally displaced populations (IDPs), including populations displaced by civil war, to sexual violence. However, while some rebel groups in civil wars exploit such vulnerabilities with widespread perpetration of sexual violence, many do not. What factors drive armed groups to abuse such populations? We argue that groups with secessionist aims are less likely to commit sexual violence against IDPs. As scholars have posited, secessionist organizations engage in legitimacy seeking behavior because they need both domestic and international actors to support their claims of sovereignty. Thus, they will avoid exploiting vulnerable populations, particularly those that receive significant international attention, such as IDPs, because they have greater incentive to appear legitimate. Using data on all rebel groups included in the Uppsala Conflict Data Program’s Armed Conflict Database from 1990 – 2008, we find support for our hypotheses. Specifically, we produce evidence that while the presence of IDPs increases the probability that rebels perpetrate sexual violence, secessionist goals significantly reduce these effects.

1) Howarth, Kathryn and Michael J. Soules. "Rebel Recruitment and Terrorism in Civil War."

Abstract: How do rebel recruitment tactics affect their use of terrorism in civil wars? We argue that understanding both who rebels recruit, and how they recruit, is essential to understanding their patterns of terrorism in civil wars. Specifically, we examine how the recruitment of female combatants and the use of forced recruitment affects the quality and quantity of terrorism. Using data on all rebel groups present in the Uppsala/PRIO Armed Conflict Data (ACD) from 1970 – 2011, we find that female combatants increase the capacity of armed organizations to launch a greater number of terrorist attacks, but that they have no effect on the share of these attacks aimed at soft targets. Conversely, while we do not find evidence linking forced recruitment to the total number of attacks, our results show that groups launch a higher percentage of their terrorist attacks against soft targets. These findings have important implications for our understanding of how rebel recruitment practices affect patterns of terrorism in civil wars.

Works in Progress

“Persuasion, Coercion, and Force: How Rebel Groups Recruit” (Dissertation) 

"Far From Home: Transnational Terrorism and Civil War Outcomes"

Brandon Bolte and Michael J. Soules. “Comparing the ISIS and al-Qaeda Networks”